SIDS Awareness Month

SIDS Awareness Month

by Posted on: October 9, 2012Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

October is SIDS Awareness Month. Learn more about the problem and the risk factors and take action to reduce the risk. Start by always placing babies on their backs to sleep.

Defining the Problem

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID): The death of an infant, less than 1 year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. After a case investigation, these deaths may be diagnosed as suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestions, metabolic diseases, cardiac arrhythmias, trauma (accidental or non-accidental), or SIDS. In some cases where the evidence is not clear, or not enough information is available, the death is considered to be from an undetermined cause.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): The sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history. SIDS is a type of SUID.

Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB) also is a type of sleep-related SUID. This includes infant deaths related to airway obstruction (asphyxia) in a sleeping environment caused by—
  1. Suffocation by soft bedding—such as a pillow or waterbed mattress.
  2. Overlay—another person overlaying or rolling on top of or against the infant.
  3. Wedging or entrapment—wedging between two objects such as a mattress and wall, bed frame, or furniture.
  4. Strangulation—such as when an infant’s head and neck become caught between crib railings.

Understanding the Problem

There are about 4,200 sudden unexpected infant deaths per year in the United States—half are caused by SIDS.1 The most frequently reported causes are—

  • SIDS—the leading cause of infant death from 1–12 months old.
  • Cause is unknown or undetermined. A thorough investigation was not conducted or after the investigation the cause could not be determined or remained unknown.
  • Sleep-related suffocation—the leading cause of infant injury death.

Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native infants are about two times more likely to die of SIDS and other sleep-related SUID than white infants.2

Reducing the Risk

Health care providers and researchers don’t know the exact causes of SIDS, but they do know certain things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS other sleep-related SUID, such as—

  • Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.

For  more information on SIDS, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/SidsAwarenessMonth/

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