Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - SIDS (for parents)

1hour 0.1CEUs

The class is also available as part of a Knowledge Collection

$39 Parenting: The First 6 Months See Details  


A thorough class on the topic of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) discussing cause, risk factors, preventive measures, dealing with a SIDS death, and the Pre-School and SIDS.

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I.  SIDS Is Defined as . . .

“The sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including:

  • Performance of a complete autopsy;
  • Thorough, but compassionate, examination of the death scene;
  • Review of the clinical history.

SIDS is . . .

  • Sudden and unexpected.
  • The leading cause of death in infants one month to one year. (Most deaths occur by the end of the sixth month with the greatest number occurring between 2-4 months of age).
  • A diagnosis of exclusion after all possible causes of death have been ruled out.

SIDS is not . . .

  • Contagious
  • Caused by child abuse, immunizations or choking
  • Anyone’s fault

Table of Contents

  1. Definition of SIDS
  2. Cause(s) of SIDS
  3. Risk Factors for SIDS
  4. Preventive Measures
  5. Dealing with a SIDS Death
  6. Pre-Schools and SIDS
  7. Review


Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Update

The 2011 updated recommendations:

  • Back to sleep: Infants should be placed for sleep in a supine (wholly on back position) for every sleep.
  • Use a firm sleep surface: A firm crib mattress, covered by a sheet, is the recommended sleeping surface.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy: Also avoiding an infant’s exposure to second-hand smoke is advisable for numerous reasons in addition to SIDS risk.
  • A separate but proximate sleeping environment is recommended such as a separate crib in the parent’s bedroom. Bed sharing during sleep is not recommended.
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime: The pacifier should be used when placing infant down for sleep and not be reinserted once the infant falls asleep.
  • Avoid overheating: The infant should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS: Although various devices have been developed to maintain sleep position or reduce the risk of rebreathing, none have been tested sufficiently to show efficacy or safety.
  • Do not use home monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS: There is no evidence that use of such home monitors decreases the risk of SIDS.
  • Avoid development of positional plagiocephaly (flat back of head): Encourage “tummy time.” * Avoid having the infant spend excessive time in car-seat carriers and “bouncers.” Place the infant to sleep with the head to one side for a week and then changing to the other.
  • Ensure that others caring for the infant (child care provider, relative, friend, babysitter) are aware of these recommendations.

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SIDS Is No one’s Fault!

(While following recommendations does and will save lives, we also know that faithfully following them will not prevent all SIDS deaths.)

  • Babies placed on their back. . .
  • Babies not exposed to cigarette smoke. . .
  • Babies who are breastfed. . .
  • Babies who had wonderful prenatal care. . .
  • Babies who were full term/normal weight. . .


  • Most babies with one or more risk factors do survive

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define SIDS, listing 3 things that it is and 3 things that it is not.
  2. Name two major categories of risk factors and three factors in each.
  3. List six things you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  4. Describe four guidelines for pre-schools.
  5. Better understand the risk factors for SIDS.
  6. Be able to take knowledgeable steps to reduce the risk for SIDS.
  7. Be able to respond to an emergency involving a possible SIDS incident.
Approved or accepted in:

Arkansas, Idaho, Maryland, North Dakota, Oregon