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SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, happens often without cause or reason, which is why it is such a tragic thing that can happen to mothers and their families. There is no warning for SIDS: even seemingly healthy babies have been reported to have died in their cribs for no reason, compelling people do refer to SIDS sometimes as cot death. SIDS risk is higher in infants between 2 to 4 months of age and although SIDS can happen to any infant at any time, there are ways to avoid this and to help keep your baby safe. However, there is also false information circulating the Internet about SIDS, as well as its prevention and causes. Before you trust such misconceptions, read the following so you become more aware of the different SIDS myths and why they aren’t true.

1. Vaccinations can cause sudden infant death. Although there has been news of babies dying from cot death after receiving vaccines, there is no substantial proof that vaccines can cause SIDS. This myth circulated because babies get immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, or polio around 2 to 4 months old, the age where they are most prone to SIDS. But despite the overlap with regards to age, there is no other relationship between immunization and SIDS risk.

2. SIDS is contagious. SIDS is not a contagious disease and just because your neighbor’s baby died because of SIDS doesn’t mean that your baby has a higher percentage of dying because of cot death, too. SIDS is not an illness or sickness, so it is not passed on from one baby to another.

3. SIDS is caused by colds or other infections. Some people think that sudden infant death may be caused by colds because there have been reports of babies who die in their cribs when they have colds. But colds and other infections do not cause SIDS. Babies can die from SIDS with a cold but not from it. Neither does a cold equate to a higher SIDS risk for babies.

4. SIDS can be caused by sleep apnea. Studies were done since 1972 have ruled out sleep apnea as a cause of sudden infant death. Sleep apnea is a disorder wherein a sufferer stops breathing for seconds while sleeping. Although it is true that infants who die from SIDS stop breathing while asleep, sleep apnea is not the main cause of cot death. With apnea, once breathing stops, it can be resuscitated…but not so with SIDS.

5. You can prevent sudden infant death easily. Because cot death is sudden and can happen for no reason and without warning, there is no surefire way of preventing this from happening. You can, however, take several effective measures to avoid SIDS or lower SIDS risk for your baby. One such practice that has been proven to be successful in lowering SIDS risk is the “Back to Sleep” campaign, where you make sure that your baby sleeps on his back always. It’s also good to make sure that your baby’s environment, pillows, and mattresses are free from smoke pollutants, chemicals and mold and mildew. One of the leading causes of SIDS is alcohol consumption while pregnant. Parents of infants must be vigilant and keep drugs away from their children.

6. Pacifiers can cause babies to choke on it, thereby increasing SIDS risk. Quite the opposite is true. Research and different studies show that giving your baby a pacifier right before naptime can decrease the chances of SIDS. You should, however, be aware that there are proper ways to use pacifiers. Never reinsert a pacifier into a sleeping baby’s mouth. You shouldn’t force your baby to take a pacifier if he doesn’t want to either.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about SIDS or cot death on the Internet nowadays and it’s best to step back and think before believing any of them. Avoid sudden infant death and lower your baby’s SIDS risk by making sure he sleeps in a clean and safe environment always.