Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • Still the leading cause of death during infancy after the neonatal period.
  • Decreased significantly with the advent of the “back to sleep” program (sleeping on the back instead of stomach)
  • Risk decreases after 6 months of age (90% between ages 2-4 months)


  1. Sleep position. You must sleep all infants on their back! Be sure all daycare providers comply. The tummy sleeping risk is 3 to 9 times higher than back sleeping.
  2. Bedding. No soft sleep surfaces. Extra quilts, pillows, or loose bedding—all should be avoided. There is also an increased risk with bed sharing.
  3. Smoking. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk as well as postnatal smoke exposure. The more smoke the baby is around, the more the risk.
  4. Prematurity does increase the risk. (Discuss with your doctor)
  5. Overheating. Avoid overheating:
    • Clothes should be light
    • Room should not be too warm

The number of SIDS deaths is actually slightly higher during the winter months.

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