About SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), incorporating SIDS, claims the lives of approximately 100 babies a year in Australia alone…

…that’s 100 innocent babies, with dreams and aspirations right before them, tragically gone in an instant.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is defined as the sudden unexpected death of an infant under 12 months of age, with onset of the fatal episode apparently occurring during sleep, that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy and review of the circumstances of death and the clinical history.

Once referred to as cot death, SIDS is sometimes termed as ‘Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy’ (SUDI). Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood (SUDC), is a term used to define a baby who dies suddenly and unexpectedly, apparently in sleep, when over 12 months of age.

Why does SIDS happen?

No one knows all of the answers, but with continuing research we’re understanding more.

Within the scientific and medical world, it’s widely believed that a SIDS event occurs when 3 critical factors intersect. As proposed in Kiliano and Kinney’s “Triple Risk Model”, SIDS involves the intersection of:

1) CRITICAL DEVELOPMENT PERIOD – an infant in a critical development period, usually in their first 6 months of life (most commonly 2-4 months)

2) VULNERABLE INFANT – an infant with an underlying and undetectable brain vulnerability (brainstem)

3) EXTERNAL STRESSORS – an infant who is exposed to external environmental stressors (e.g. tummy or side sleeping, cigarette smoke, pillows, soft toys, sleep positional devices, cot bumpers, overheating). This is where parents, guardians and carers can have the most impact – Sleep baby safely!

SIDS has been known to occur in a range of sleeping environments, such as the cot, bassinet, car seat, pram and even in people’s arms. SIDS has been known to occur at any time of the day or night.

Approximately 90% of SIDS cases occur in the first six months of life.