Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of an autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the infant's and family's medical history. SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age, with most deaths occurring when a baby is between two and four months of age.

The cause of SIDS is unknown; research is ongoing to learn more about what causes SIDS. What we do know is ways we can reduce the risk of SIDS.

There are things that you can do to lower your baby's risk of SIDS:

  • Place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Use a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Make sure blankets do not cover your baby's head. Use sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, instead of a blanket.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, sheepskins, bumpers, stuffed toys, and loose bedding from your baby's sleep area.
  • Your baby is safest sleeping in a crib or bassinet near your bed. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children.
  • Don't let your baby get too hot from wearing too many clothes or covers.
  • Make sure no one smokes in your home or around your baby.
  • Try using a pacifier when placing your infant to sleep but don't force the baby to take it. When breastfeeding, wait one month or until your baby has learned to breastfeed before trying a pacifier.
  • Don't forget Tummy Time when your baby is awake and is being watched.
  • Tell everyone who cares for your baby about these important safety tips!

In New York State, for more information call the New York State Sudden Infant and Child Death (SICD) Resource Center, at 1-800-336-7437.

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