Why is SIDS higher in winter?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

I think SIDS is higher in winter for a few reasons. First, as the NICHD news release mentions, parents often try to keep their infants warmer during the colder months by adding extra blankets or clothes. While this may seem like a good idea, it can actually increase the risk for SIDS. The extra material can potentially cause overheating, which is a known risk factor for SIDS.

Additionally, during the winter, households tend to be more closed up to keep out the cold. This can lead to poor air circulation, which may increase the concentration of harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the baby’s sleeping environment. This build-up of gases can potentially contribute to the occurrence of SIDS.

Furthermore, the winter season often coincides with the holiday season, which can bring about changes in routine and increased stress for parents. These changes and stresses can impact the quality of care provided to infants, potentially increasing the risk for SIDS.

It’s important to note that while these factors may play a role in the increased incidence of SIDS during winter, there is still much that researchers do not fully understand about this tragic syndrome. SIDS is a complex issue with multiple potential contributing factors, and it is likely that a combination of factors, both known and unknown, are at play.

As a parent myself, I can understand the desire to keep your baby warm and cozy during the winter. However, it’s crucial to follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of SIDS. This includes placing your baby on their back to sleep, ensuring a firm and flat sleep surface, avoiding loose bedding and excess pillows or blankets in the crib, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

The increased risk of SIDS during winter may be due to factors such as the use of extra blankets or clothes, poor air circulation, and changes in routine or stress levels. However, it’s important to remember that SIDS is a complex issue and more research is needed to fully understand its causes. As parents, we must prioritize safe sleep practices to protect our infants from this devastating syndrome.