While public education and awareness efforts during the past 20 years have helped reduce the rate of deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 50%, there is still much that can be done to prevent SIDS.
SIDS, which is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation, is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1-12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the third leading cause overall of infant mortality in the U.S.
As part of its “Back to Sleep” campaign, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has developed the following list of tips and information aimed at helping parents and caregivers reduce the risk of SIDS:
- Always place babies on their backs to sleep – Research shows that babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides. Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep is the number one way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Use the back sleep position every time – Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed on their stomachs, like for a nap, are at a very high risk for SIDS. So it is important for babies to sleep on their backs every time – for naps and at night.
- Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet.
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area – Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or pillow-like bumpers in your baby’s sleep area. Keep all items away from the baby’s face.
- Avoid letting your baby overheat during sleep – Dress your baby in light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
Our firm encourages everyone to follow these guidelines to provide the safest possible sleeping environment for infants.