Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than one year old. Some people call SIDS "crib death" because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs.
SIDS is the leading cause of death in children between one month and one year old. Most SIDS deaths occur when babies are between one month and four months old. Premature babies, boys, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Native infants have a higher risk of SIDS.
Although health care professionals don't know what causes SIDS, they do know ways to reduce the risk. These include
- Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep, even for short naps. "Tummy time" is for when babies are awake and someone is watching
- Having your baby sleep in your room for at least the first six months. Your baby should sleep close to you, but on a separate surface designed for infants, such as a crib or bassinet.
- Using a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet
- Keeping soft objects and loose bedding away from your baby's sleep area
- Breastfeeding your baby
- Making sure that your baby doesn't get too hot. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature for an adult.
- Not smoking during pregnancy or allowing anyone to smoke near your baby
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths May Be Underestimated: Study (06/05/2017, HealthDay)
- Air Mattresses Linked to More Than 100 Infant Deaths (06/02/2017, HealthDay)
- Fewer SIDS Deaths in U.S., but Gaps Among Racial Groups Remain (05/15/2017, HealthDay)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) - PDF
- Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Reducing the Risk (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Ways To Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
- Myths and Facts about SIDS and Safe Infant Sleep (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- What Causes SIDS? (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
- What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like? (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: hereditary hyperekplexia (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: sudden infant death with dysgenesis of the testes syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Sudden Infant Death (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Common SIDS and SUID Terms and Definitions (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)