Although the rates of unexplained sudden death in infants (sometimes called sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS] or sudden unexplained/unexpected infant death [SUID]) have decreased over the past couple decades, about 3,500 sleep-related deaths still occur each year in the U.S. Recent research shows that unsafe bedding, such as loose blankets in the sleep area, remains a leading factor associated with infant death.
Although the exact causes of unexplained sudden death in infants are often unknown, the risk can be reduced by creating a Safe Sleep Environment:
Figure 1 Safe Sleep for Your Baby, from https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/resources/providers/downloadable/infographic_vertical, accessed 10/17/2022
Other recommendations to reduce the risk of unexplained sudden death are:
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow others to smoke around your baby.
- Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.
- Avoid putting hats on your baby when indoors to avoid overheating.
- Give your baby “tummy time” for short periods of time while awake and someone is watching them.
- Make sure your baby receives routine immunizations.
Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows about these ways to reduce the risk of unexplained sudden death and other sleep-related infant deaths.
For more information:
- CDC Safe Sleep Video: https://youtu.be/09kNXxYB_Ko
- Safe Sleep for Your Baby: https://youtu.be/29sLucYtvpA
- Safe to Sleep: What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/pubs/documents/safe_sleep_environment_rev.pdf
- Breastfeed Your Baby to Reduce the Risk of SIDS: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/Breastfeed_Baby_SIDS_final.pdf
- Info for Dads – Help Baby Sleep Safe: https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/S2S_Dad_Infographic.PDF
- Safe Infant Sleep for Grandparents and Other Trusted Caregivers: https://youtu.be/-ELZirhL0s0
- Ways to Reduce The Risk Of SIDS And Other Sleep-Related Causes Of Infant Death (updated with 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations)
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Common Questions & Concerns – Healthy Children.org