Triple Risk Model

The Triple-Risk Model

What causes SIDS?

Evidence based scientific research has led us to believe that many infants dying suddenly and unexplainably have an underlying brainstem vulnerability; one that is most often undetectable prior to death and a forensic investigation.

Researchers are focused on discovering more about the malfunction of a SIDS victim’s regulatory biological centres, building hope that vulnerabilities may one day be detected via medical screening and SIDS deaths be averted.

Vulnerabilities in the biological regulatory centre (including breathing regulation) of the brainstem of some infant’s can cause them to be be unable to biologically respond to an apparent life threatening event in sleep . As demonstrated in the Triple Risk Model, an infant with such biological vulnerability is at higher risk of a SIDS event, particularly whilst experiencing a critical development period and if presented with an external stressor.

Exogenous (External) stressor

  • Overheating
  • Exposure to second-hand or third-hand cigarette smoke
  • Compromise of oxygen flow (padded bedding, loose blankets and sheets, sheepskin underlay or doonas, pillows, bumpers, sleep nests or positioners, beanies, hooded clothing or soft toys)