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Experts warn about high Sudden Infant Death rates in the UAE

03-29-2016 05:21 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Informa Life Sciences Exibitions

Experts warn about high Sudden Infant Death rates in the UAE

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known, as cot death is the sudden and unexpected death of a child less than one year of age that occurs during which remains unexplained. Research performed in the UAE does suggest that Sudden Infant Death rates may be high, due to the high usage of certain sleeping materials and warm sleeping environments. 1

The most important part of ‘safe sleeping’ is the baby’s sleeping environment. Experts therefore recommend that the safest place for babies to sleep is in their own crib in their parent’s room for the first to six months of life and not in the parent’s bed. Furthermore babies must always sleep on their back with their feet touching the bottom of the crib. 2

“It is very difficult to monitor the rates of Sudden Infant Death in the UAE and the wider GCC community as an autopsy is required as part of the thorough investigation to code the infant’s sudden death. Following extensive country wide educational campaigns, Sudden Infant Death in the developed world has reduced by up-to 70%; however Sudden Infant Death remains high in the developing world where country wide educational campaigns have not yet taken place,” says Mrs Sarah Jane Ball, Clinical Resource Nurse, Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Mrs Ball discussed today the Sudden Infant Death – The ABC of Safe Sleeping at Midwifery Conference at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions that commenced today and will continue March 28-29 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Epidemiological data may suggest that Sudden Infant Death rates within the UAE are approximately 0.66 per 1,000 live births, with the USA approximately 0.56 per 1,000 live births, Australia 0.40 per 1,000 live births and the UK approximately 0.35 per 1,000 live births. Further research is required in the UAE to obtain more elaborate information and a potential plan for a country wide educational campaign. 3 4

“There are demographic risk factors that parents must be aware of. All babies are at risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death, but babies born premature (before 37 weeks gestation), babies with a low birth weight less than 2.5kg, babies born of multiple deliveries (twins/triplets), and babies born into low socio-economic groups have an increased risk of dying from this syndrome,” highlighted Mrs Ball.

Safe sleeping environments are vital to reduce the risk of SIDS and babies must have one thin blanket that covers them up to their chest (with their arms outside of the blanket). If parents do not wish to use a thin blanket then a baby sleeping bag is recommended. The bedroom air temperature must be between 16-20 degrees Celsius, and hats are not encouraged when a baby is sleeping to avoid overheating. Breastfeeding is part of the ‘safe sleeping’ recommendations whereas smoking in the sleeping environment is not recommended.

“The retail industry should also adopt the ‘safe sleeping’ guidelines. For many parents it is often confusing when they see baby cribs for sale with pillows, crib bumpers and thick blankets present, as these can all increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death,” concluded Mrs Ball.

Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, in charge of the healthcare portfolio within Informa's Global Exhibitions division, organises 26 exhibitions yearly covering the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and US market, connecting more than 150,000 healthcare professionals worldwide and offering a range of marketing solutions for companies involved with the healthcare sector. Over 100 congresses take place in parallel with the exhibitions.

Dubai, UAE 9428

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