Home > Babies and Toddlers > Babies > Your Baby and Sleep > SIDs > Immunizations and SIDS
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Immunizations and SIDS

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: I have been told by friends that SIDS has recently been linked to immunizations, and I should wait until my son is two years old before having him immunized. Is that true?

A: There is no link between immunizations and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Unfortunately, some people and organizations have posed theories linking immunizations to SIDS, but there is absolutely no evidence to support this. The cause of SIDS is not completely known, but we do know that the rate of SIDS has fallen dramatically since we started having infants sleep on their backs instead of on their bellies. It is likely that there is some defect in the breathing pattern of babies who die from SIDS.

Don't delay your child's immunizations until he is age two. Some of the diseases that we immunize children for are most dangerous to babies under two years old. Pertussis (whooping cough) is one example. A three-year-old who gets pertussis will be sick, but will most likely recover without difficulty. A five-month-old who gets pertussis may likely have severe, and sometimes fatal, symptoms.

Other important immunizations that prevent life-threatening diseases and decrease the exposure of the germs to others are the Hib (hemophilus influenza type B) and pneumococcal vaccines, both of which prevent meningitis and serious bacterial infections in young infants. Also, we still do see cases of tetanus (the T in DTP) in infants who have not been immunized.

It is easy these days to think you can wait until children are older, since we have conquered so many infections that were such a scourge 50 years ago, but those infections have not disappeared. Outbreaks still occur, and the children who are devastated by them are the ones who have not been immunized.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!