Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs Newsline - SIDS


Radio Newsline

December 3, 2013


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

SIDS, a primary cause of death in infants before the age of one year, is not well understood by medical experts.  But parents can take steps to prevent it.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is an unexplained cause of death occurring in infants when they are sleeping.  Dr. Tracy Milbrandt, assistant professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says the exact cause of SIDS has not been determined.

“The way we define SIDS is an unexplained death of a seemingly otherwise healthy infant under a year of age, where there really is no cause of death that can be identified. ... What we do know is that it typically is the result of some sort of lack of oxygen.”

SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants under one year old and it claims the lives of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 infants each year in the U.S.  Dr. Milbrandt explains some risk factors for SIDS that can help parents be more aware.

“... being male is an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome and babies who are born early or have low birth rates when they are born. One of the biggest factors we see is mothers who smoke during pregnancy. That increases the risk by three times for babies to die from SIDS.” 

Dr. Milbrandt says babies should be placed on their backs when put to sleep.  If parents are looking for more information about SIDS, she recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics and web sites.  Or talk to your child’s physician.

Ruth Slottag

Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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