Respiratory tract

Caution Sudden Infant Death: Always pay attention to free airways


Special care should be taken in the early days of an infant's life
Fewer and fewer children in Germany suffer a sudden child death, but the danger remains. The professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) warns especially in the first two days of life that the risk of sudden child death or experiencing an apparently life-threatening event is particularly high.

According to the experts, there are still risk factors in the first two days of life that parents later consciously avoid due to improved information. This leads to an increased risk of sudden child death in the first days of the child's life. Parents should pay particular attention to clear airways, the professional association of paediatrics and adolescents warns, citing a technical contribution in the "Monthly Pediatrics".

Blocked airways often cause sudden child death
The article shows that sudden child death has become significantly less common thanks to primary prevention, especially as all parents have been informed about avoidable risk factors. In the apparently life-threatening events (ALE), the incidence is constant with approx. 2/1000 live births. "Little is known yet that ALE and sudden child death can occur directly postnatally," the authors emphasize. The routing of the upper airways often plays a role here. In newborns, therefore, “close monitoring postnatally is appropriate” and “parents should be advised to always keep their child's airways clear.”

Sleeping on mom's stomach is a risk
For example, if the baby lies prone on the mother, the BVKJ says that breathing can be hampered by the mother's breast. Often the mothers are exhausted and fall asleep with the baby on their stomach without noticing that the child is not getting enough air. The child itself could not yet react appropriately to the shortage of air. Therefore, mothers and fathers should always make sure that the airways of the newborn are clear, emphasizes Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Nentwich, pediatrician and adolescent and member of the scientific advisory board at BVKJ. In addition, the mother's body temperature can cause overheating, which is also a risk factor for sudden child death.

Minimize the risk of sudden child death
In order to minimize the risk, the BVKJ advises the baby to lie on its back in a sleeping bag in its own crib with a firm surface in the parents' bedroom. Furthermore, the risk of sudden child death could “result from a well-tempered, not overheated and smoke-free environment, by dispensing with utensils in the cot that can get over the child's head (such as pillows, blankets or cuddly toys), by breastfeeding and through use of a pacifier ”can be reduced.

Recognize warning signs and react correctly
According to Professor Dr. Hans-Jürgen Nentwich are "Pale or a blue skin discoloration in the baby, significant change in muscle tension, e.g. if the infant suddenly becomes limp and choking or a strongly changed breathing always warning signs, to which parents should react immediately. “If necessary, contact an emergency doctor or the emergency call and first aid measures should be initiated however, be extremely careful in infants. An example of how ventilation should be performed in infants is explained on the website of the German Red Cross. Participation in a corresponding first aid course is also highly recommended. (fp)

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