Cot death: Paediatrician advocates proper antenatal, good sleeping position to reduce risk

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A paediatrician, Dr Okiemute Olibamoyo of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, says proper antenatal care and good sleeping position can reduce risk of cot-death.

Olibamoyo of the Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, LUTH, disclosed this in on Monday in Lagos.

reports that cot death, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death, is usually the sudden and unexplained death of a child of less than one year of age.

The paediatrician said that there might be some underlying respiratory dysfunctions and or obstruction of the airways as the implicated cause of cot-death.

According to her, the factors cited as being the causes of it include: prone sleep position (where the baby sleeps on the tummy), male sex, maternal smoking, low birth weight or preterm babies.

She added that other factors include: bed sharing (where babies sleep on the same bed with their parents/caregivers), exposure of the baby to extreme temperatures, low socioeconomic class among others.

On the ways to reduce the risk factors, Olibamoyo said: “Proper antenatal care to the pregnant mother is needed. Avoidance of maternal smoking is important.

“If a baby is born as a preterm and successfully managed, mothers should adhere to all instructions given pertaining to the care of the baby.

“Mothers also must avoid unorthodox child-care practices which may be suggested to her by non-healthcare providers.

“Babies should not be kept in rooms where there are smokers or where they are exposed to smoke such as that from generating sets.

“Babies should not be encouraged to sleep on the same bed as caregivers, but may be in the same room as caregivers.

“Babies should be put to sleep on their backs, not sides,” she said.

According to her, mothers must attend baby clinics regularly and the baby’s room temperature must not be too cold or too hot.

Olibamoyo said that baby’s cot should be firm so that it could reduce the risk factors.

“Nursing mothers must practice exclusive breast feeding which is feeding the baby with breast milk only for the first six months of the baby’s life.

“My advice to mothers is to always follow all instructions from the baby’s healthcare provider.’’

She said that there was not much statistics reporting the prevalence of SIDS in Nigeria.

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