child safety

Reduce the Risk of SIDS / Tips and Guidelines

New parents can reduce the risk of SIDS by learning simple tips and guidelines.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of one in the United States.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant in which no exact cause of death can be identified following a medical review or autopsy.

SIDS cases are most common in infants aged two to four months old, often occur at night when the child is sleeping and are most prevalent in the winter months.

SIDS is a particularly frightening phenomenon for parents because there is no definitive research on the cause, nor full-proof method to prevent it. There is however, a multitude of research into the matter over the last several decades which has identified certain risk factors and strategies to reduce the risk.

Due in large part to these discoveries, the rate of SIDS in the US has declined by 50% since 1990. Even so, more than 2,200 US infants die from SIDS each year.*

Tips and Guidelines to help reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Premature and low birth weight infants are at higher risk for SIDS. To reduce the risk of premature birth or low birth weight, pregnant mothers should receive proper prenatal care and nutrition and should not smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.
  • Place your baby on his back to sleep at all times - at night and for naps. Infants who sleep on their stomach or sides are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Place your child on a safe, firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress. Use a tightly fitted sheet and remove all other objects from the crib, including blankets, pillows or toys. Make sure nothing is near or covering your baby's face which could cause him to overheat or obstruct his breathing. If necessary, use sleep sacks or footed pajamas to keep your child warm.
  • Avoid overheating/overdressing your baby. If the room temperature is set at a comfortable level for an adult, it is adequate for a baby as well.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in your baby's room. Some studies indicate the simple use of a fan to circulate the air may reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not smoke or let other adults smoke around your baby or in your home. Studies show the risk of SIDS increases when an infant is exposed to second or third (residual chemicals from smoke embedded in furniture, drapes, carpets and upholstery) hand smoke.
  • If you choose to co-sleep with your infant, make sure to follow all safety recommendations to do so. Do not co-sleep with your infant if you are a particularly heavy sleeper, on soft surfaces (like couches), avoid bulky or fluffy bedding, and make sure there are no crevices where your child can become trapped (like between the mattress and headboard). Never co-sleep if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Child Bed Safety Resources:

Crib Safety Guidelines

Child Bed Safety Rails

Toddler Bed Transition Tips

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