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Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness



About 3,500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States. These deaths are the result of unknown causes, Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB), and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is defined as an unidentified cause of death in a baby younger than one year, even after the performance of an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the infant’s and family’s clinical histories.


Most SIDS deaths occur when babies are between one and four months of age and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before six months. However, SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby’s first year. Approximately, 20 percent of SIDS-related deaths occur in childcare settings.


How can you make a safe sleep environment?Always place baby on his or her back to sleep for all sleep times, including naps.

  • Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. Try room sharing – keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room next to where you sleep.

  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet

  • Keep soft objects, toys, pillows, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area

  • Dress your baby in no more than one layer of clothing more than an adult would wear to be comfortable, and leave the blanket out of the crib. A one-piece sleeper or wearable blanket can be used for sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.


For more information please see


By Katherine A. Beckmann, Ph.D, M.P.H., Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Health and Development, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood

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