SIDS is the acronym for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and was first defined in the year 1969. SIDS was once known as “Cot Death”.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occurs when an infant or child unexpectedly dies, without any clear explanation for the death by the young child’s medical history nor by the post mortem examination. While the meaning of SIDS was first defined in 1969, the cause of SIDS is still unknown today and the medical field is still uncertain why these babies die so suddenly.
The lack of any clear explanation also means there is also uncertainty for preventative measures. This is concerning for Australian parents and expectant parents as SIDS is blamed for the deaths of babies more than any other known reason. Like in many other western nations, Australia currently experiences an average incidence of SIDS of about 1 out of every 2000 live births, which is around 120 babies every year. This is a marked improvement from 1 in 500 babies dying from SIDS in Australia in 1990.
According to recent research, changes in child care practices have helped to decrease the the risk of SIDS by at least half in several countries.
Although the incidence of SIDS in Australia has reduced today since the figures in 1990, SIDS still is the highest cause for death of babies since the prevention of treatment of other childhood illnesses has been more successful.