Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

The risks of getting SIDS

  • Boys have a higher risk of SIDS than girls
  • The risk of SIDS is higher in babies born to a teenage or younger mother
  • The risk of SIDS is higher in premature and low-birthweight infants, including twins and triplets.
  • The risk is higher in babies born to mothers who smoked or abused drugs.
  • Cold weather months can increase the risk of SIDS
  • Deaths due to SIDS occur rapidly and more frequently during sleep, especially between midnight and 9 am


  • 7,000 babies every year are killed by SIDS…one baby every hour every day
  • 90% of babies who die of SIDS are under six months of age

What is SIDS and what causes it?

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is described as the sudden death of a baby, in which the cause cannot be determined even after an autopsy. It can occur without warning and is a major cause of death of infants during the first few months of life. It seems to be associated with a sudden overwhelming respiratory infection. This can lead to abnormalities in breathing and heart rate.



  • Placing the baby on its back when sleeping has been shown to be helpful
  • Do not smoke or drink when pregnant, or around the baby after birth. This increases the risk of SIDS according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
  • Use of firm bedding materials for the baby may be helpful. The following are not recommended:
    • sheepskins
    • foam bags
    • beanbag cushions
    • waterbeds
    • foam pads
    • foam sofa cushions
    • foam pads covered with comforters
  • Breast feeding your baby can reduce the risk of getting certain illnesses, disorders, and infections.
  • Don’t keep the baby too warm (i.e. too much clothing, too many blankets, or very warm room).
    Pediatricians recommend maintaining room temperature between 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Signs that a baby may be too hot include:
    • sweating
    • damp hair
    • heat rash
    • rapid breathing
    • restlessness
    • occasionally fever

REMEMBER: There is no substitute for good prenatal care and if you observe any changes in your baby, contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY!!