Essay on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


  1. Thesis Statement: While SIDS is a leading cause of infant mortality, its death mechanism remains unclear despite the extensive research focusing on the same.
  2. Unexplained Deaths

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden unexplained death of children aged below I years. When conducting the diagnosis of the condition, the cause of death remains unexplained during autopsy. SIDS occurs during sleep, mainly between midnight and 9 am. The deaths are noiseless, and there is no evidence of a struggle. SIDS is the leading cause of infant mortality in developed Western countries.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  1. Death remains unexplained since there is no evidence of a struggle or even pain.
  2. The cause of deaths through SIDS is a big mystery because children do not seem to suffer at all during the episode. Instead, death happens silently without any struggle.
  3. In SIDS, there is no warning or any apparent reason for the deaths, making the disease unpredictable (Baruteau et al., 2017). According to Baruteau, SIDS is characterized by a triple risk threat which is the convergence of three risk factors during an infant’s developmental period
  4. The weakening of the heart muscles may cause death
  5. A weak heart with irregular beating patterns may cause frailness in children leading to unexplained death during sleep.
  6. When a child develops a weak heart, the body is deprived of critical nutrients it requires to remain healthy and strong. The lack of nutrients in the body causes frailness/weakness that may make infants die suddenly.

III. Underlying Medical Conditions

  1. Deaths caused by underlying diseases
  2. There is a school of thought that argues that SIDS may be caused by certain underlying diseases that children acquire from their mothers during pregnancy (Carlin & Moon, 2017). Some children may suffer from biological conditions that put them at high risk of SIDS.
  3. An example of a biological condition that may cause SIDS is hypoxia and hypercarbia impairment that expose infants to SIDS.
  4. Sharing of bed and soft bedding.
  5. Infants with certain conditions that expose them to high risks of SIDS may pass these conditions to fellow babies/infants when they share beds, sleep together, or share soft-bedding.
  6. The transmission of conditions mentioned above is still the subject of debate. More proof about sharing beddings as a risk factor of SID remains an area of extensive research interest.
  7. Triple Risk Theory
  8. Triple risk threat is the cause of SIDS
  9. Studies have shown that SIDS could result from a triple risk threat, a convergence of three risk factors during an infant’s developmental period. For instance, Haynes et al. (2017) note that exogenous stressors combined with arrhythmia syndrome cause cardiomyopathies, which could culminate into SIDS. The triple threat is a combination of underlying factors never been investigated before.
  10. When exogenous stressors group together with arrhythmia, it causes cardiomyopathies, which is a leading cause of death in children under the age of 1 year.
  11. Cardiomyopathy is caused by viral infections in the heart.
  12. When this happens, the heart of infected children become weak and unable to perform normal functions. The condition results in faster-than-normal heartbeats and nutritional deficiencies.
  13. The cardiomyopathy may result in a weak and failing heart that may not be detectable by the open eyes (Spinelli et al., 2017). The weakening of the heart muscles in children may be why they die quietly in their sleep without any struggle.
  14. Conclusion
  15. SIDS occur unexplainably and quietly during sleep
  16. Most infants succumb to SIDS in a way that cannot be explained because there are no physical symptoms of a disease, neither is there any form of pain or struggle. With SIDS, infants simply die in their sleep.
  17. Triple threat model is believed to be a leading cause of death that is often reported as SIDS. Three critical factors such as the heart’s weakness, lack of nutrients, and the body’s frailness are the most significant risk factors for SIDS in children under the age of 1 year.
  18. The mechanisms of death in SIDS largely remain unclear
  19. Triple risk model remains the most developed model for explaining SIDS and how it causes death in infants. The model has evolved with time to encompass other factors that were not known earlier.
  20. The cause of SIDS is not known but is believed to be multifactorial. Notably, underlying biological conditions may expose children to SIDS. Further, hypoxia and hypercarbia impairment are examples of problems that create high-risk factors for SIDS.

Essay on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome References

  • Baruteau, A. E., Tester, D. J., Kapplinger, J. D., Ackerman, M. J., & Behr, E. R. (2017). Sudden infant death syndrome and inherited cardiac conditions. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 14(12), 715-726.
  • Carlin, R. F., & Moon, R. Y. (2017). Risk factors, protective factors, and current recommendations to reduce sudden infant death syndrome: a review. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(2), 175-180.
  • Duncan, J. R., & Byard, R. W. (2018). Sudden infant death syndrome: an overview. University of Adelaide Press. Accessed from
  • Haynes, R. L., Frelinger, A. L., Giles, E. K., Goldstein, R. D., Tran, H., Kozakewich, H. P., Haas, E. A., Gerrits, A. J., Mena, O. J., Trachtenberg, F. L., Paterson, D. S., Berry, G. T., Adeli, K., Kinney, H. C., & Michelson, A. D. (2017). High serum serotonin in sudden infant death syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(29), 7695-7700.
  • Spinelli, J., Collins‐Praino, L., Van Den Heuvel, C., & Byard, R. W. (2017). Evolution and significance of the triple risk model in sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of pediatrics and child health, 53(2), 112-115.

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