Facts, Truths, and Beliefs on S.I.D.S – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

19 10 2006


Nationally the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 12 months of age (2-4 months is the biggest risk area)

SIDS is the cause of death for approximately 2, 500 babies per year

Nationally the highest number of deaths occur between 2-4 months; 91 % occur between 1 and 6 months.

More SIDS deaths occur in winter months than any other season (Nov-Mar)

More male babies die of SIDS

Unaccustomed tummy sleeping increases the risk by as much as 18-fold

Exact causes of SIDS are unknown, but it is not caused by immunizations, vomiting, or choking

SIDS is NOT the same as suffocation

Risk Factors:

Low birth weight (less than 5 pounds)

Premature (less than 37 weeks)

Maternal smoking during pregnancy

Multiple births (e.g. twins, triplets)

Maternal age younger than 18 years

Less than 18 months between births

Babies at risk for SIDS:

Babies who breathe secondhand smoke (2.5x greater risk)

Babies who sleep on their tummies (have 5x greater risk) {NOTE: Babies who can roll from tummy to back or back to tummy, they are okay to sleep on their tummies if they choose to. But always put baby on their BACK to sleep}

Babies put on their tummies to sleep who usually sleep on their backs as much as 18x greater risk)

Bed Sharing

Can be hazardous

No adults (parental or other) or children (siblings or other) should bed share with an infant

An adult bed is not made with infant safety in mind

** The safest place for a baby is to sleep alone in a safe sleep environment and position

A safe sleep environment or Crib:

No tears in mesh or fabric

No loose or missing slats (slats need to be 2 3/8″ or less apart)

No missing, protruding or loose screws, bolts, or hardware

No sharp edges, points, or rough wood surfaces

Corner posts or decorative knobs should be 1/16th inch or less ( so as not to catch on babies clothing)

No splits or cracks in plastic or wood

No soft bedding, comforters, pillows, bumper pads, wedges/positioning devices, toys and/or stuffed animals, loose blankets, etc..

An unsafe sleep environment includes:

Chairs, recliners, sofas, water beds, adult beds. This means do not place baby to sleep on a sofa with pillows around them as this may cause positional asphyxia.

Safe Sleep Environment:
Warmth Provisions:

Be a wearable blanket or sleep sack

* allows for a diaper to be changed without removing it

* moves with the infant without danger of entanglement
Infant Positional Asphyxia

Occurs usually in a sleep setting when an infant’s body position or an object prevents the child from breathing.

* Infant’s mouth and nose don’t have to be completely obstructed for suffocation to occur.

Common causes:

* Inappropriate sleep surfaces; not firm

* Entrapment of head; between slats

* Items in sleeping environment; bumper pads, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals.

Unintentional Infant Suffocation Chart

Using a Pacifier

* A pacifier can be used at naptime and bedtime during the first year

* Some preliminary research indicates pacifier used reduces the incidence of SIDS

* A pacifier should not be forced on babies who do not want it

* For nursing babies, pacifiers should be introduced after breastfeeding has been established.



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