Baby care 101
Sudden infant death syndrome
SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Most SIDS cases happen in babies between 2 and 4 months old.
SIDS is sometimes called crib death. Cribs don’t cause SIDS, but other sleep issues can increase your baby’s risk for SIDS.
What causes SIDS?
We don’t know what causes SIDS. But some things can put babies at higher risk of SIDS than others, including:
- Sleeping on his tummy or on his side
- Sleeping on pillows, soft surfaces or soft bedding
- Wearing too many clothes to sleep or sleeping in a room that is too hot. These things can cause your baby to overheat.
- Co-sleeping. This means that your baby sleeps with you in your bed. Half of all babies who die of SIDS are babies who share a bed, sofa or sofa chair with another person.
- Being a boy. SIDS happens in boys more often than in girls.
- Being black or Native American. These babies are more likely to die of SIDS than other babies.
- Being born prematurely or with low birthweight
- Having parents who smoke, drink alcohol or use street drugs
Can you lower your baby’s risk of SIDS and other sleep-related dangers?
Yes. Use these tips to help keep your baby safe during sleep.
Are there any products that can lower your baby’s risk of SIDS?
No. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend using products, like special mattresses or wedges, aimed at reducing the risk of SIDS. There is no evidence that these products reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation.
For more information
First Candle/SIDS Alliance
National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource Center
The Compassionate Friends
Last reviewed March 2012