Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is manifested by an infant’s sudden death which is unexpected and mysterious despite detailed investigations at the death scene or forensic autopsy. In many cases, the infant dies after being put into their beds and no signs of suffering are exhibited. The term SIDS is only used if the death is not expected and cannot be explained after proper investigations. These include the performance of an autopsy, an inquiry into the family and infant’s medical history and an investigation of the circumstances of death and scene investigations (Malloy et. al., 2001).
Certain factors are suspected to put infants at risk of SIDS. The use of drugs like cocaine, heroine and tobacco have been claimed to increase the risk factor associated with SIDS. Post natal risk factors include premature births, low birth weights, imbalances in room temperature, sleeping position have also been suspected to increase chances of SIDS.
Babies born to smoking mothers are not at a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome compared to babies of non smoking mothers.
Possible Challenges in Data Interpretation
There is a very high risk of using data that has been misclassified. This is in respect to maternal behaviour because information on their smoking habits is self reported and subject to misrepresentation on their part for example, smokers may classify themselves as non smokers.
A study by Tushur, et al., (2006) investigated what effect smoking in pregnant women had on the risk of sudden cot death in infants. They did this by linking information from death and birth certificates in Georgia from 1997 to 2000. They found that of all the cases of SIDS that had been reported, twenty one percent could be attributed to smoking by mothers. Among smokers, it emerged that sixty one percent of the cases of SIDS were attributed to maternal smoking. They concluded that smoking during the duration of pregnancy... [continues]
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