It is a parent’s worst nightmare: they check on their sleeping baby, only to find the infant unresponsive. How does this happen? Sadly, each year approximately 4,500 babies die unexpectedly in the United States, often during their sleep. Sometimes we know why (suffocation by fluffy bedding or a sleeping adult, for example) but in more than half of these cases, even a thorough investigation leaves us with no answers.Those unexplained infant deaths are called “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” or SIDS.
But even when we don’t know exactly why a baby has died, investigators have found the risk factors to be consistent: the same steps that decrease the risk of suffocation have the added benefit of decreasing the risk of SIDS as well.
For the best protection, create a safe sleep environment for your baby. Start with the ABCs of Safe Sleep: babies should sleep ALONE, on their BACK, in a CRIB. The following guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been shown to reduce the risk of both suffocation and SIDS for babies under 1 year:
Safe Sleep Campaign
Safe Sleep for Your Baby Card - English
Safe Sleep for Your Baby Card - Spanish
Safe Sleep for Your Baby Poster - English
Safe Sleep for Your Baby Poster - Spanish
*Safe Sleep cards and posters developed by the Washington Safe Infant Sleep Coalition are available in English and Spanish.