Frequently asked questions Frequently asked questions When a healthy baby or child dies suddenly and unexpectedly, it is natural to have lots of questions.
Hopefully, you will find some answers to the most frequently asked questions. If, however, you have other questions, please contact us and we will do our best to answer them for you.
SIDS is very rarely used to describe the cause of death on death certificates in Scotland. In the majority of cases an apparently healthy infant is put down to sleep without the slightest suspicion that anything is out of the ordinary, although there are sometimes signs of a slight cold or tummy upset.
When next checked the infant is found to be dead.
There is increasing evidence to show that there is no sign of any struggle, or distress. Was anyone to blame? In most cases, the death is nothing more than a devastating tragedy where no-one was to blame and no-one could have done anything to prevent the death. While this is an inevitable part of our legal system it can be very distressing for the parents and can make them feel as if they are under suspicion. Equally distressing and bewildering is the lack of an explanation for the death.
With no reason and no one else to blame, parents often blame themselves, feeling that they must have done, or failed to do, something which led to the death. While it is possible for an infant to smother accidentally, this is rare. Sometimes milk or blood-tinged froth is found around the nose or mouth.
This occurs during or soon after death and is not the cause of death. Until around 50 babies and children a year died in Scotland, similar to that of other developed countries. Since then the rate has gradually decreased and is now around 40 babies and children each year — a drop also noted in other parts of the world.
Although we cannot be certain of the cause of this decrease it is probable that avoiding placing babies on their fronts to sleep has made a major contribution.
SUDI accounts for more infant deaths between the ages of 1 month and 12 months of age than any other cause.
Sleeping with your baby on a sofa or chair is linked to a higher risk of SIDS. For babies with specific health needs, additional advice may be given by your healthcare professional. For operational reasons, this service might not be guaranteed on board, even if booked.
However, research has indicated that the risk may be reduced if the following steps are taken: This is NOT a sign that the parents or carers have failed to care for their baby or child properly. Sadly, it is nothing more than a devastating tragedy and no-one is to blame.
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