Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death of infants between 1 month and 1 year of age and claims the lives of approximately 2,500 infants each year. SIDS is the sudden unexplained death of an infant in the first year of life. Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between two and four months of age. The causes of SIDS are still unclear, but there are measures that can be taken to make babies’ sleep environments safer and help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Listed below are The Nathional Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) recommendations for reducing the risk of SIDS:
Safe Sleep Top 10
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.
- Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved* crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, and pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby’s sleep area, and keep any other items away from your baby’s face.
- Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don’t let others smoke around your baby.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but he or she can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring the baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside cosleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed) when finished.
- Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep, but don’t force the baby to take it. (If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.)
- Do not let your baby overheat during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.
- Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.
- Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head: provide “Tummy Time” when your baby is awake and someone is watching; change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.
To learn more, click on What does a safe sleep environment look like?
To view the new federal requirements for overall crib safety, click on Crib Laws & Requirements.