Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) News

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of an infant 12 months or younger. It is the no. 1 cause of death among babies at this age. SIDS is the most common of several infant death causes that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Other causes of SUID include suffocation, infections and poisoning.

SIDS cases are declining in the United States as doctors and authorities raise awareness among parents and caregivers. Still, rates are higher among certain ethnic populations, including blacks and American Indians. Overall, some 2,000 babies die from SIDS each year.

Risk Factors for SIDS

Though the cause of SIDS is unknown, there are certain factors that put a baby at a greater risk of SIDS. A lot of these factors can be controlled, like poor prenatal care or the mother smoking, drinking and using drugs during pregnancy. A baby that is premature, has a low birth weight or is born to a woman under the age of 20 also is at a greater risk for SIDS. Using too much bedding, wearing sleepwear that is too heavy or sleeping on the stomach also increase the odds of SIDS.

Preventing SIDS

One of the most important factors in preventing SIDS is to put babies on their backs to sleep, every time. Health care providers have been trying to raise awareness of this for several years, as it’s a simple step that can prevent most cases of SIDS. In addition, the baby should sleep on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and should not have loose bedding, stuffed animals and other toys in the sleep area. Finally, keeping the baby at the proper temperature during sleep is another important step. The baby should be dressed in light sleep clothing, and the temperature in the room should be comfortable for an adult.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; KidsHealth

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Preventing Infant Deaths

Unsafe sleep practices continue to cause infant suffocation deaths.

Health Tip: Avoid Baby Sleep Positioners

Keep cribs free of objects and toys

'Sleep Positioners' a Danger to Baby: FDA

Infants should always be put to sleep on their back on a firm, bare surface

Too Many Babies Still Placed on Stomach to Sleep: Study

Pediatric experts recommend infants always sleep on their backs to avoid SIDS

Can Sharing Your Bedroom With Baby Come With Risks?

Despite latest guidelines, odds of poorer sleep and SIDS are higher, study finds

Hospital 'Baby Boxes' May Help Prevent SIDS in Newborns

The innovative take-home gift helped curb the dangerous practice of bed-sharing, study found

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death

Preventing Sudden Unexpected Infant Death in Specific Communities May Take Targeted Campaigns, Study finds.

Fewer SIDS Deaths in U.S., But Gaps Among Racial Groups Remain

Sudden infant deaths are twice as common for blacks as whites, study finds

Baby Crib Ads Show Unsafe Practices, Study Says

Fluffy toys, tummy-sleeping and bumper pads are linked to sudden infant death syndrome

SIDS Prevention

Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents for at least 6 months, according to new AAP policy.

Docs: Infants Should Share Parents' Room to Help Prevent SIDS

Sleeping nearby -- but not in same bed -- advised for first year, pediatricians' group says

Babies Often Put to Sleep in Unsafe Positions

About 3,500 U.S. infants still succumb to sudden infant death syndrome each year: CDC

Swaddling May Increase Chances of SIDS

Study found wrapping blanket tightly around sleeping baby raised risk by almost 60 percent

Temporarily Turning Blue Sometimes Normal for Babies, Doctors Say

American Academy of Pediatrics refines guideline on what's called a 'brief resolved unexplained event'

Teen Moms May Ignore Advice for Helping Babies Sleep Safely

Awareness of SIDS risk didn't spur young mothers to follow recommendations, study finds

SIDS Risk Depends on More Than 'Sleeping Environment'

Study finds 'Back to Sleep' messages worked, but so did lower smoking and teen pregnancy rates

Ban Crib Bumpers Because of Rising Deaths, Researchers Say

Many of these fatalities were preventable, study reveals

U.S. Infant Deaths At Lowest Rate Ever: CDC

But American babies still die at rates that are higher than other affluent countries

Living at Higher Elevations Linked to SIDS Risk

Study found odds were doubled, though still very rare even at greater altitudes

Sleep Position Linked to Death Risk for Those With Epilepsy

Researchers see similarities with sudden infant death syndrome

Babies Still Sleeping With Soft Bedding Despite SIDS Risk: CDC

Over half have items in crib that may up odds of sudden infant death syndrome

Brain Abnormality Spotted in Many SIDS Babies

But finding is too preliminary to say it causes the deadly condition, experts say

Sleeping on Sofa Can Be Deadly for Babies, Study Finds

Researchers uncover higher risk for SIDS, suffocation

U.S. Still Lags in Infant Mortality Rates, Report Finds

Preemies, deaths among full-term babies contribute to higher rate compared to 25 other countries

Bed-Sharing Linked to SIDS

Study also finds risk factors for sleep-related death vary with baby's age

Home Nurse Visits May Improve Survival of Moms, Babies

Deaths were far more common when poor women did not receive follow-up care, study finds

Many Parents Not Following Safe Sleep Practices for Babies

About one-third don't place infants to sleep on their backs, although that's known to help prevent SIDS

Helmets Not Helpful for Babies With 'Flat Head' Syndrome: Study

Dutch researchers found similar improvement in infants who received no treatment

Smoking While Pregnant Raises Baby's Risk of Cleft Palate, Cleft Lip

Report from U.S. Surgeon General confirms maternal smoking's link to these birth defects

Many U.S. Parents Share Bed With Babies Despite Risks: Survey

Doctors should discuss sleep-time habits with new parents, expert says

Bed-Sharing With Babies Tied to More Breast-Feeding

But suffocation risk outweighs benefit of moms sleeping with infants, experts say

Nearly Half of Infants Have Flat Spots on Their Heads: Study

But researcher stresses importance of still having babies sleep on their back to prevent SIDS

Sleeping on Back to Prevent SIDS Doesn't Appear to Hurt Babies' Ability to Roll

Canadian study compared infant development before and after Back to Sleep campaign

Bed-Sharing Raises SIDS Risk Fivefold, Study Finds

Number of cases would drop dramatically if parents did not sleep with their babies, researchers noted