SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

Appendix B


Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS): Formerly known as hyaline membrane disease; a syndrome of respiratory difficulty in newborn infants caused by a deficiency of a molecule called surfactant. RDS almost always occurs in newborns born before 37 weeks of gestation. The more premature the baby is, the greater the chance of developing RDS. RDS is more likely to occur in newborns of diabetic mothers.

Rigor Mortis: Literally, the stiffness of death; the rigidity of a body after death.

Risk Factors: Factors that are found more frequently in a group of people with a certain problem than in a group of people without that particular problem. An expected connection between the risk factor and the problem is usually not obvious.

Serotonin: Neurotransmitter and hormone with multiple activities. The serotoninergic system is known to modulate mood, emotion, sleep and appetite and thus is implicated in the control of numerous behavioral and physiological functions.

Smothering: Physical obstruction of the nose and mouth.

Spontaneous Abortion: See “Miscarriage.”

Statistics: The science of using information discovered from studying numbers. Statistics are information based on a study of the number of times something happens or is present or other numerical facts.

Stillbirth (Fetal Demise/Fetal Loss): Death prior to delivery of a baby with a gestation of at least 20 weeks or a birth weight of more than 350 grams.

Supine: Back; supine sleep position means sleeping on the back.

Tetanus: An often-fatal infectious disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani (C. tetani) that usually enters the body through a puncture, cut or open wound. Tetanus is characterized by profoundly painful spasms of muscles, including “locking” of the jaw so that the mouth cannot open (lockjaw). C. tetani releases a toxin that affects the motor nerves, the nerves which stimulate the muscles.