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Young infants vulnerable to sudden death while seated
Young infants vulnerable to sudden death while seated

July 20, 2007 (Insidermedicine) Infants are at risk of sudden death when they are put in sitting position, according to a report published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – or SIDS, refers to the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant younger than one year of age. In Canada, three babies die of SIDS each week. Such deaths usually occur while the child is sleeping and remain unexplained even after a full investigation. 

An earlier study found that infants are at risk of dying in car seats if they are left unsupervised. In some cases, the babies’ heads had fallen forward, pressing the jaw into the chest, blocking the airway. 

In the present study, researchers analyzed the unexpected deaths among babies up to one year of age in one Canadian province over a nine-year period. In all, more than 500 babies had died during this period, and 80% of cases, the cause of death remained unexplained. 

They found just over 3% of deaths had occurred in babies who were seated, mostly in car seats, and more than half were unexplained. While premature babies were not at greater risk, those under a month old were almost four times more likely to die suddenly while seated than older babies. Furthermore, babies less than one month who died from unexplained causes were seven times more likely to be seated.

Despite the results, no concerns are raised over the necessity or safety of car seats. Studies have shown that car seats can reduce injury by up to 90 to 95% when used correctly. The study does stress, however, the need for extra care when seating very young infants, and the need for supervision. 

Reporting for Insidermedicine, I’m Dr. Susan Sharma.

 
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