Climate Change Effect on Babies, Increased Risk of SIDS

Not only will rising temperatures negatively impact the state of our environment, but they might also pose a risk for infants. Babies cannot regulate their internal temperatures in the same way adults do. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a baby’s ideal temperature is 97.7 °F. To keep this ideal temperature, a baby’s room temperature should be regulated. Parent’s magazine suggests a baby’s room is kept between 65 and 70 °F. However, higher outdoor temperatures can increase the difficulty of regulating indoor temperatures. A study conducted in Montreal, Canada fascinated me. It examined the potential correlation between climate change and sudden infant deaths. The study analyzed previous cases, spanning 30 years, of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and compared outdoor temperatures on the day or the day before a SIDS event. It found a “strong association between elevated outdoor temperature and the likelihood of SIDS” especially for infants of 3 months of age or higher. Outdoor temperatures above 84°F showed almost 3 times more SIDS cases on days that were 68°F. The correlation between outdoor temperatures and the number of SIDS cases is positive. In the future, higher temperatures, due to climate change, can have an impact on the number of SIDS cases.

If this correlation is further proven, perhaps the rhetoric on climate change could be impacted. From the data, it seems that the small shifts in temperature really does show a correlation to SIDS. Hopefully someday this can be further analyzed and brought into the limelight for both doctors and climatologists. I don’t know what role I can play in changing the discussions about climate change, but I know that I can be a part of the discussion in raising awareness of this correlation.

I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child to SIDS. I want to help make an environment where parents can feel comfortable and not have to worry. Maybe I can’t change the literal climate, but I can try to help them deal with dangers that are indoors? I don’t know, but if you’re reading this, I hope you find it as intriguing as I have.

Jocelyn is passionate about all things technology for moms and babies.