SIDS Prevention

What is SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant 1 month to 1 year of age.

How Common is SIDS?

In 2017, 3,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) were reported in the U.S., according to the CDC, with an estimated 1,400 due to SIDS. There were an additional 1,300 infant deaths due to unknown causes and about 900 cases of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. SIDS declined significantly between 1990 and 1999, but has not shown much change in the past 20 years.

SIDS Prevention Starts With Sleep

Providing a safe sleep environment is the single most important step you can take to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. SIDS is not a topic anyone wants to think about—but thankfully, there are many ways to reduce your baby’s risk.

SIDS Prevention: 15 Tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

  1. Only let your baby sleep on the back.

  2. Breastfeed if you can: This cuts SIDS by 50%.

  3. Have a smoke-free house: Don’t smoke or allow others to do so. Avoid wood stoves, incense, scented candles, and fireplaces, unless the room is well vented.

  4. Avoid overheating or overcooling: Keep the room between 68°F to 72°F (20–22.2°C), and avoid overdressing. Your baby’s ears should feel slightly warm, not cold or hot.

  5. Use snug swaddling for all naps/nights to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

  6. Offer a pacifier at bedtime (if you’re breastfeeding, wait a couple of weeks until the nursing is well established before giving a paci).

  7. Don’t sleep with your baby in your bed for at least the first 9 months.

  8. Never let him sleep on a couch, recliner, sofa, armchair, beanbag chair or waterbed.

  9. Remove pillows, toys, bumpers, and thick or loose bedding that could cause smothering, like duvets, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals, sleep positioners, lambskins.

  10. No thick blankets under the baby, either.

  11. Practice tummy time to help your baby develop strong muscles to move his face away from choking risks.

  12. Don’t let your baby sleep sitting up in a car seat, infant carrier, or inclined swing (especially if she’s premature or developmentally delayed).

  1. Sleep in the same room as your baby for the first 6 months, with the baby in a bassinet or SNOO Smart Sleeper right near you.

  2. Make sure your baby has received all their immunizations.

  3. Avoid cribs with missing slats, net siding, or a space between the mattress and the side wall where your baby’s head might get trapped.

SIDS Prevention: Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, there’s no absolute way to prevent SIDS. But, most babies who die have at least one of these risk factors, so following all these tips in an effort to prevent SIDS can definitely make your baby safer! For a complete list of safety tips for parents and caregivers visit www.firstcandle.org.

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