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NAN: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

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For parents of older generations, the thought of putting their baby to sleep on her back is foreign, since years ago parents were instructed to place their babies on their tummies to sleep. Now we know that placing babies on their backs to sleep can reduce their risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome significantly. Since the Back to Sleep, now Safe to Sleep campaign was launched in 1994, overall SIDS rates have dropped more than 50%. 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant who is younger than 1-year-old. SIDS is the leading cause of death in children 1 month to 1 year of age and most SIDS deaths occur between 2 and 4 months of age. African American infants and Native American infants are more likely to die from SIDS than Caucasian infants. More boys than girls die from SIDS.

Risk factors for SIDS include stomach sleeping, poor prenatal care, overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding, smoking, drinking and drug use during pregnancy, prematurity, low birth weight and tobacco smoke exposure.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS:

Back to sleep for every sleep

Use a firm sleep surface

Room-sharing without bed-sharing

Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib

Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care

Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth

Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth


Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime

Avoid overheating

Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy for reducing the risk of SIDS.

The Academy also recommends that infants be immunized in accordance with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS be avoided. Supervised, awake tummy time is also recommended to facilitate development and to minimize the development of positional plagiocephaly.

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)