This article is from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome FAQ, by David Stokes email@example.com and Margaret D. Gibbs gibbsm@no_spam.poppyware.com with numerous contributions by others.
1) Apnea (breathing stops); Many people have apnea and apnea has
killed infants. Infants with apnea can be resuscitated. An
apnea monitor (AKA cot monitor) can detect when a SIDS victim
stops breathing - but remember, a SIDS victim is already dead
when that happens. Note: Infants with apnea usually are placed
on apnea monitors for apnea, not to prevent the unpreventable.
And many SIDS parents do use apnea monitors on subsequent children
- this has mainly a placebo effect on the parents.
2) Predictable; There are no signs.
3) Preventable; Some people think that if you do one thing or another
(such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, or laying baby on its back, etc),
you can prevent SIDS. While doing these things may lessen the odds of
SIDS, there _are_ SIDS victims who were exclusively breastfed,
and slept (placed on their back or side) with their parents. There
is no known factor which will prevent SIDS.
4) a near-SIDS; SIDS, by the definition, can not be a near or
almost. Apparent Life Threatening Events (ALTE) is the proper
term for these types of problems and this a new area of pediatrics
research. But an almost SIDS is like an almost pregnancy ->
5) Infant botulism: Infant botulism and SIDS have a similar age of
death demographics but the botulism is easily found in an autopsy.
6) Caused by immunizations: Most children get their immunizations at
about four months which coincides with the average age. But
children without immunizations also die of SIDS.
7) Caused by poor/bad/stupid parents: SIDS happens to parents of all
economic, social, educational, and racial groups. Some cultures
do not report SIDS deaths or have no way to classify SIDS and this
often leads some to say that there are no SIDS deaths in country X.
8) Caused by Colds: Many infants get their first runny nose around
four months. A SIDS victim can die WITH a cold but not FROM a cold.
9) Munchausen by Proxy: Despite the flippant remarks by ABC
Television 'reporter' John Stossel, SIDS is not Munchausen (Where
a parent harms their child so the parents get attention from
doctors treating the child)!
10) Caused by fire retardents in mattresses (The "Peter Cook" theory
has been debunked)
11) Caused by suffocation;
12) Caused by vomiting or choking;
15) The result of neglected illness, accidents, or abuse.
SIDS is NOT anyone's fault.