Children's Health and Safety - SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
What is SIDS?
The sudden unexplained death of an infant less than one year of age. Sometimes called "crib death" because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs.
Facts About SIDS
- SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants age 1 month to 1 year.
- The peak incidence occurs between 2-4 months and 90% of deaths occur before 6 months of age.
- Boys are slightly more at risk
- African Americans and Native Americans have two to three times the incidence.
Risk Factors For SIDS
The medical community does not know exactly what causes SIDS, but have learned that the incidence of SIDS is higher in infants that fit one or more of the following risk factors:
- Prone sleeping position (stomach sleepers)
- Soft bedding
- Maternal smoking during pregnancy
- Exposure to nicotine after birth (second hand smoke)
- Late or no prenatal care
- Prematurity and/or low birth weight
- Young maternal age
SIDS Risk Reduction
Since no one know exactly what causes SIDS, it cannot be prevented but you can significantly reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.
- ALWAYS place infants on their backs to sleep and every sleep time counts.
- Use a firm sleep surface covered by a tight fitting sheet.
- Keep soft and loose objects out of infant’s sleep area (no quilts, pillows, crib bumpers, or stuffed animals in the crib)
- Have separate, but proximate sleeping environment. An infant should his/her own sleeping area in a crib or cosleeper in the same room as you.
- Consider using a pacifier at nap/bedtime.
- DO NOT allow smoking around your baby, which includes not smoking while you are pregnant.
- Avoid overheating (room temperature of 70º F or less). Dress your infant in light pjs. Pay special attention to this if your infant has a fever.
- Encourage "Tummy Time". Place babies on their stomachs when they are awake and alert and being watched by an adult.
- Avoid the use of sleep position devices and home monitors. Despite what the product claims, most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.
- Spread the Word. Make sure that everyone that cares for the infant is aware of the above recommendations.
For more information about SIDS, contact the Back To Sleep Campaign at 1-800-505-CRIB (2742) or visit them at www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS/
Other National SIDS Resources:
New York State Center for Sudden Infant Death
First Candle/SIDS Alliance:
National SIDS and Infant Death Resource Center:
Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs:
National SIDS and Infant Death Program Support Center: