October is SIDS Awareness Month in the U.S. and even if the Philippines is oceans apart from America, the issue of SIDS and the importance of safe sleep applies to everyone, no matter what country we’re from.
What is SIDS? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. define three different dangers that may cause the early deaths of young children:
“Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID): The death of an infant that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. After a case investigation, the cause of these deaths may be diagnosed as suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestions, metabolic diseases, cardiac arrhythmias, trauma (accidental or non-accidental), or SIDS.
“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): The sudden death of an infant that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history. SIDS is a type of SUID.
“Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB) is also a type of sleep-related SUID. This includes infant deaths related to airway obstruction (asphyxia) in a sleeping environment caused by—
1. Suffocation by soft bedding — such as a pillow or waterbed mattress. 2. Overlay — another person overlaying or rolling on top of or against the infant. 3. Wedging or entrapment — wedging between two objects such as a mattress and a wall, bed frame, or furniture. 4. Strangulation — such as when an infant’s head and neck become caught between cribrailings.”
The importance of safe sleep education In the U.S. and other first-world countries, many families are benefiting from safe sleep education that is being pushed by the government. In fact, in the U.S., there are even laws that mandate their hospitals to educate new parents about safe sleep before they are discharged from the hospital. Sadly, here in the Philippines, there is still very little government support and a great lack of public education about safe sleep. Thus, safe sleep advocates hope to help increase Filipinos’ knowledge of SIDS prevention and safe sleep.