Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Published on October 11, 2019

Photo of baby sleepingWhat You Should Know About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Photo of baby sleepingSudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as crib death, is the unexplained death of infants/babies under one-year-old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3,500 babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly each year.

Why Does This Happen?

There is still no explanation as to why SIDS occurs, however there has been a decline in infant deaths from 1990 to date due to The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations that took place in 1992. Another contributing factor to the decline was the initiation of the “Back to Sleep” campaign that launched in 1994, now known as “Safe to Sleep.”

“Although the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, there are plenty of measures we can take to keep our babies safe,” says Ernesto Ong MD, pediatrician, PIH Health Physicians. “Always place your baby on his or her back when laying them down to sleep and never fall asleep with them in bed.”

What Can I Do to Prevent SIDS?

While SIDS is not completely preventable, there are ways to reduce the risk. “Practicing safe sleeping habits for your baby is important,” says Dr. Ong. Create a safe sleep area that includes a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress, covered in a fitted sheet. Be sure to always lay your baby on his/her back. Never lay them on their stomachs to sleep or leave them unsupervised. Keep your baby’s crib close by where you can see them up until your baby is one-year-old. Keep your baby cool and do not place blankets on or over his/her head. If your baby is sweating or the chest feels hot, remove extra layers of clothing so that he/she can cool down. Lastly, remove stuffed animals, additional bedding and soft blankets from the crib while your baby is sleeping.

If you have any questions about pediatric care or if you are looking for a pediatrician in or near your area, visit PIHHealth.org/PEDS.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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