SIDS Risks and Your Baby – What You Should Know

SIDS Risks and Your Baby – What You Should Know

SIDS and Your Baby

New parents or expecting a child? These steps may help an infant sleep more safely and reduce much of the risk of sleep-related infant death, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, also called Crib Death or Cot Death) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). 

There are around 3,500 sleep related deaths among U.S. babies every year. The CDC supports the recommendations given by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to decrease the risk of all sleep related deaths in children, including SIDS. Here is the AAP’s article, titled: “How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained“. 

Parents and caregivers, alike, can help make a protected sleep-area for children by taking the following precautions: 

Make sure your baby is on their back for all sleep times, whether during naps or overnight. If a baby spits up during sleep, an infant’s gag reflex help prevent them from choking while sleeping on their back. Infants who sleep on their back are far less likely to die of SIDS than those who sleep on their stomachs or sides. 

Use a crib mattress that provides a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a safety-approved mattress in a crib covered by only a fitted sheet. Parents may feel they need to place their baby on a soft surface to help them be more comfortable. However, a soft surface increases the risk of sleep-related death in young children. A firm sleep surface helps to reduce risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and suffocation. 

Examples of highly rated, safety-approved crib mattress products. 

Maintaining your child’s sleep area (a crib or bassinet, for example) in the same room you sleep in until your child is at least 6 months old, or ideally, until your baby is one year old, is best. Accidental strangulation/suffocation may happen when a baby is sleeps in an adult bed or other unsafe area. Sleeping in a room with your baby is far safer than bed-sharing and may reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Having a crib near your bed, within view and reach, may also make it easier to feed, comfort, and monitor your little-one. 

Soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys should be out of your baby’s sleep area. Do not cover your child’s head or allow them to get too hot. Some might feel they need to add sheets or blankets to their child’s crib to help keep their baby warm and comfortable while sleeping. However, sheets, comforters, and blankets may increase risk of suffocation or overheating your baby. If temperature is a concern during sleep, you can dress them in sleep clothing, like a wearable blanket. In a recent Pediatrics report, CDC scientists and colleagues found that infant suffocation deaths during sleep were most frequently due to soft bedding, such as blankets and pillows. 

View a safe sleep environment at What does a safe sleep environment look like? (PDF)

Learn more about CDC Activities to Address Sleep-Related Infant Deaths. 

CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) monitors sleep-related infant deaths in 22 states and/or jurisdictions through its Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Death in the Young (SDY) Case Registries. Participating states and jurisdictions use data about trends and risk factors to develop strategies to reduce future deaths. 

Learn more about CDC resources, publications, and activities to address sleep-related infant deaths.

Amazon recommends “Safe Crib Mattress