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October is National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained and is the third leading cause of infant death in the United States and the leading cause of death for infants aged 1 to 12 months.

Health care providers and researchers don't know the exact causes of SIDS, but they do know methods to help reduce the risk of SIDS. As an early care and education professional, I hope that you will familiarize yourself with the following risk factors and that you will help educate families of infants about SIDS:

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Babies should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with a parent, or with anyone else.
  • Soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding should never be allowed in a baby's sleep area.
  • Babies should not be exposed to cigarette, pipe, or cigar smoke before or after birth. Exposure to smoke is a risk factor for SIDS.


For more information about safe sleep environments and reducing the risk of SIDS check out the resources on the Healthy Children website, sponsored by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).