(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Six infants in Israel died this week apparently of sudden infant death syndrome, an unusually high number in a country that sees an average of 80 such fatalities a year.
Magen David Adom said the first case occurred on Monday, when a four-month-old girl in a Beduin village in the Negev was found unconscious in her crib, paramedics failed in their efforts to resuscitate her, and Soroka University Medical Center doctors declared her dead.
The same afternoon, a three-month-old girl in Bnei Brak was found unconscious in her bed and also couldn’t be revived. She was declared dead at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
On Wednesday morning, a year-old girl in Bnei Brak was found dead in similar circumstances.
Three more cases occurred on Thursday, including a three-month-old boy in Jerusalem rushed to Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus where he was declared dead, followed by a five-month-old girls in Modi’in.
The third case involved a one year old boy in Arara in the Negev taken to Soroka, where he was declared dead.
SIDS is the most common cause of death in seemingly healthy infants up to the age of 18 months, according to MDA medical branch director Dr. Rafi Sterugo. While the exact cause is not known, measures may be taken to reduce the risk.
Generally, SIDS occurs more often in winter than other seasons.
He recommends putting babies to sleep on their backs, not on their sides or on their stomachs, not to heat rooms to more than 24 degrees Celsius, and to dress infants in layers of light clothing so they can move about while sleeping.
Other steps to reduce the risk of SIDS would include removing from the crib all soft objects except for a light blanket, using a relatively hard mattress, according to the standard, so the baby does not sink into a soft one. Caregivers should also make sure the baby’s face is not covered by a blanket. In addition, babies should also not sleep in the same bed with an adult, nor should anyone smoke anywhere near a baby.