SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep. So we want to help parents and caregivers understand SIDS and prevent this kind of tragedy from ever affecting their family.
So what should parents and caregivers know about SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death?
- We’ve made great progress in reducing SIDS. The overall SIDS rate in the United States has dropped about 60 percent since the 1990s. That’s when the back-sleeping recommendations were first released and public awareness efforts began. Since then, the number of babies placed on their backs to sleep has tripled.
- Babies sleep safest on their backs. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomach or sides.
- Every sleep time counts. Babies should sleep on their backs for naps and at night. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, but then are placed on their stomachs are at a very high risk for SIDS.
- Sleep surface and sleep environment matter. Babies who sleep on a soft surface (such as on an adult mattress or under a soft covering like a soft blanket or quilt) are more likely to die of SIDS or suffocation. These deaths also are more likely when soft objects, toys and blankets are in the baby's sleep area.