Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.

While the SIDS rates have declined in recent years, in 2015 it was approximately 39 deaths per 100,000 live births.  Research has shown there are a number of ways to reduce SID deaths or other sleep-related infant deaths.


Major Risk Reduction Factors

  1. A Safe Sleep Position - having healthy babies sleep on their back.
  2. A Safe Sleep Environment having babies sleep on a firm mattress without fluffy bedding.

1.  A Safe Sleep Position

  • Place the baby on his/her back to sleep for naps and bedtime.
  • Babies are not more likely to choke in this position.
  • Head flattening is temporary and can be minimized by giving them more ‘tummy time’ when awake, by reducing time in car-seats and "bouncers"', by encouraging upright "cuddle time" and by alternating the head position while asleep, moving mobiles to opposite sides of the sleep area, switching arms while holding baby, or placing the car seat on opposite sides of the car.
  • Side sleeping is no longer advised.  It especially increases risk when the infant has infectious symptoms.
  • The sleep position of infants with breathing problems should be discussed with the baby’s doctor.  If he encourages side sleeping for other reasons, position the lower arm forward to keep them from rolling onto their stomachs.

2.  A Safe Sleep Environment

  • A safe crib
  • A firm mattress
  • Safe bedding
  • A comfortable temperature
  • Avoid bed sharing


Here is some additional information from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding safe sleep positions.  You can also try our online Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) class for more in-depth information about SIDS.