All infants are vulnerable to SIDS. Some factors can make an infant more vulnerable. These can include:
- Genetic conditions passed down from biological parents.
- Unknown physical developmental issues.
- Smoking during pregnancy.
- Issues with the brain development.
- Delays in development of the arousal reflex needed for an infant to wake up. An infant needs to be able to wake up to gasp for air if they stop breathing. Infants who sleep on their stomach or side often sleep more deeply. This results in having a more difficult time waking up. This makes tummy sleeping more dangerous.
CRITICAL DEVELOPMENT PERIOD
Infants’ brains grow and develop a lot in the first six months of life. They are at highest risk for SIDS during this time because the part of the brain that allows them to wake up when their oxygen level is too low or their carbon dioxide level is too high is still developing. The muscles in the neck and core are also not fully developed during infancy. This prevents an infant from being able to roll over or pick up their head if their airway is blocked.