Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUIDs). “SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.”1 There are about 4,000 sudden infant deaths per year in the United States and about half are found to be SIDS or unexplained.2 SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants less than one year of age.1
The exact cause of SIDs is unknown to health care providers and researchers. Evidence suggests that death from SIDS is linked to infants who are born with brain abnormalities or defects. These defects typically affect the brain cells that control breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, waking from sleep, and temperature. Currently, there is no screening process to identify infants who have these abnormalities, but development is in the works. 3
Risk Reduction and Prevention:
Always place babies on their backs to sleep.1
Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.1
Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.1
Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding, out of your baby’s sleep area.1
Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.1
Give your baby plenty of tummy time with supervision at all times. This should be done on a play mat on the floor and never on the bed.2
Do not put too many clothes on the baby or keep him/her in a room that is too hot. If the baby is sweating, remove some of the clothing.2
If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once. And if your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.2
Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until he or she is at least 6 months of age and has learned to easily roll both ways on their own.2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About SUID and SIDS: Understanding the Problem. http://www.cdc.gov/sids/aboutsuidandsids.htm (accessed 3 August 2016).
American SIDS Institute. http://sids.org (accessed 3 August 2016).
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Ways To Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/about/risk/Pages/reduce.aspx (accessed 3 August 2016).
S.I.D.S. Awareness Profile Facebook Covers. http://www.firstcovers.com/user/932281/s.i.d.s.+awareness.html (accessed 3 August 2016).