What SIDS is not:
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The determination that a baby died of SIDS means that a coroner or medical examiner could find no other cause of death after an autopsy, examination of the death scene and a review of the medical history of the baby and its mother.
Experts don't know what causes SIDS. But they agree SIDS is not:
-- The result of homicide or accidental suffocation or strangulation.
-- The result of neglected illness, accidents or abuse, or the Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, in which parents harm their children so the parents get attention from doctors.
-- Preventable. There are things parents can do to reduce the RISK of their baby dying from SIDS, like place him or her in a back sleeping position, breastfeed and not smoke. But some babies still die from the syndrome when all precautions have been taken.
-- Treatable. While there are occasional reports of "near-SIDS" events, these are in fact some other type of life-threatening event generally affecting low-birth-weight or premature infants. SIDS babies cannot be revived.
-- Apnea (cessation of breathing). People of all ages do stop breathing for various medical reasons, but in SIDS, not breathing is a result, not the cause of death. Infants with apnea can be resuscitated; babies who die from SIDS cannot be.
-- The result of infant botulism, which often strikes babies around the same age. Botulism can easily be found by medical tests after death.
-- Caused by immunization. Although SIDS may coincide with some baby shots, there is no proven link and babies who have not been immunized have also died from the syndrome.
-- Caused by colds or stomach viruses. While many parents report their infant had recently had a bout with such illnesses, researchers say this timing is also coincidental and not any direct cause of SIDS. The syndrome is not contagious.
-- Hereditary. Repeat cases of SIDS in a family are very, very rare. Although it's possible that some genetic traits that put infants at greater risk could be passed along, there's no significant evidence that they are.