Understanding SIDS

Sudden Infant Syndrome (SIDS) is a tragedy that strikes approximately 1 in 1,000 babies. SIDS is the unexpected and sudden death of an infant under one year of age in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death.

Main Risk Factors for SIDS

Not breastfeeding.

• Premature birth.

• Exposure to second-hand smoke.

• Babies sleeping on their stomachs or in unsafe environments (e.g., soft bedding).

• Having a mother who smoked or took illegal drugs during pregnancy.

• Having a mother who had little or no prenatal care.

SIDS researchers have taken the above risk factors and translated this information into suggestions for reducing the risk of SIDS. These risk factors are a clue, but not a cure to the mystery of SIDS. On October 10, 2005, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released revised guidelines and recommendations for the prevention of SIDS.

SIDS Prevention Recommendations

• Don't smoke during pregnancy and avoid exposing your baby to secondhand smoke.

• Place your infant on his back to sleep.

• Use a firm sleep surface.

• Keep soft objects and loose bedding (like pillows) out of the crib.

• Don't share your bed with your baby.

• Keep infants in close proximity when they are sleeping.

• Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime throughout the first year of life after breastfeeding is well-established.

• Avoid overheating your baby.

  • Keep room warm enough for a lightly-clothed adult to feel comfortable.
  • Babies should not feel hot to touch.