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Though Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by definition remains mostly unknown to medical professionals, a new study shows there may be another risk factor for infant death.

The Associated Press reported that a study in Colorado showed that there was a higher risk for SIDS for infants who lived in places above 8,000 feet. While Colorado’s rate of SIDS is low, the AP reported that it’s still two times greater than in the Denver area and other regions where the altitude is less than 6,000 feet.

The AP said mountain air has less oxygen and conditions that have been previously linked to SIDS, but there’s still a question as to how much of a risk it puts on babies.

Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about SIDS and what is still unknown with the sudden deaths.

Q: What is SIDS?

A: “SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This term refers to an event when an infant less than a year of age dies suddenly for no identifiable reason.”

Q: What are some factors of SIDS?

A: “The exact cause if SIDS is not known, but risk factors include infants born to a mother who smokes, received poor or no care before the baby was born, or who are less than 20 years old. Placing the infant on their stomach to sleep, using a soft surface, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, or having the infant sleep with an adult or another child also increase the risk of SIDS.”

Q: How should children be placed in cribs?

A: “Children should be placed on their back on a firm mattress in a crib or bassinet. Use of pillows, stuffed animals and other soft objects should be avoided.”

Q: What else can parents do to prevent SIDS deaths?

A: “In addition to the efforts mentioned above, parents should avoid having the child sleep with them. Parents should also avoid smoking and not let anyone else smoke in the house or car with the infant.”

Q: What are still some unknowns associated with SIDS?

A: “Although so many risk factors have been identified, the main cause of SIDS remains unknown. Cases still occur with little to none of the risks mentioned above.”

Dr. Chad Jumper is a family practice physician at Boiling Springs Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. He attended Penn State and completed his residency at Reading Hospital and Medical Center. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Association of Family Practice. Check Boiling Springs Family Medicine on Twitter @DrChadJumper and on Facebook. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.


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