8 Tips to Help Prevent SIDS

By Tyler Pascavis, MD

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is something that every parent should be aware of.  It is estimated that 3,400 sudden unexpectant infant deaths occur in the United States each year.  The good news is, there are multiple ways you can lower the risk of SIDS.

8 Ways to Reduce SIDS Risk

  1. Your infant should always sleep on his or her back. Placing your infant on their side or stomach to sleep can increase the risk of SIDS.
  2. Use a firm sleeping surface that meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Soft mattresses increase the risk of suffocation.
  3. Infants should sleep in their own crib or bassinet. Sleeping in a bed with others, such as co-sleeping with a parent, can increase the risk of SIDS.
  4. Your infant can sleep in the same room as the parent(s) on a separate, safe surface for at least the first 6 months of their life. This can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
  5. Crib bumpers, loose blankets, and stuffed animals all increase the risk of sudden death and suffocation, and these items should not be placed in the infant’s sleeping area. 
  6. Tobacco smoke, alcohol, and illicit drug use in the household all increase the risk of SIDS. It is important to set boundaries with other family members and friends to not expose your child to secondhand smoke.
  7. Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. It is recommended to breast feed until at least 6 months of age.
  8. Avoid overheating your infant.  Usually, an infant only needs one more layer of clothing than you do. If you are comfortable in a t-shirt for example, then the infant is likely comfortable in a onesie plus another layer, like their swaddle blanket. Signs of overheating include sweating or your infant’s chest feeling hot to touch.

Although there is no way to completely prevent SIDS, these things can greatly reduce the risk. If you have any questions about SIDS, your NOAH doctor is here for you and your baby. Click here to make an appointment today.