Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Also known as: Crib death, Cot death.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden unexplained death of an infant under one year of age. It can only be determined after the completion of an autopsy, a death scene investigation & a review of the case history. SIDS remains a leading cause of death in babies from one month to one year of age. In the United States alone, SIDS takes the lives of thousands of babies every year.

Important facts about SIDS:

The most common age range of SIDS victims is between 2 and 4 months.
More boys fall victim to SIDS than girls.
More deaths occur during cold weather months than warm weather months.


Statistics show that the following may help reduce the risk of SIDS:

(Remember following all risk reduction recommendations will not guarantee your child will not fall victim to SIDS)
  • Place your baby on their back to sleep. There are some medical conditions that may make back sleeping unsafe. Please speak with your pediatrician if you are concerned regarding sleep position.
  • Make sure your baby is in smoke-free environments. Having a smoke free environment is important for your little one. I think we all know that smoking isn't good for us and that second hand smoke isn't either.
  • Do not overheat your baby. Your baby should wear the same amount of clothing that you are comfortable in. (unless you have a condition makes your insensitive to temperature control.). It was long believed that we should bundle our babies. This just isn't true. Remember, your baby can't take his or her sweater off when they get to warm!
  • Breastfeeding is thought to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Frequently asked questions about SIDS:

Q: Why does back sleeping reduce the risk of SIDS?

A: There really isn't an answer to this question. Many scientist have different theories, but no one theory has yet been proven.

Q: Has there ever been a SIDS death after one year of age?

A: SIDS is defined as the unexpected, unexplained death of an infant under the age of one year. But Sudden Unexplained Deaths occur even into adulthood. Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) is the term used for the sudden unexplained death of children over the age of one. Sudden Unexplained Death in Adulthood is another cause of death that is similar (if not the same) to SIDS. So while by a technical standing SIDS cannot happen after the age of 1, sudden unexplained death can.

Q: Does SIDS always occur at night?

A: No. SIDS has occurred at all hours of the day.

Q: Are all SIDS infants found on their tummies?

A: NO. SIDS infants have been found in all positions.

Q: Is SIDS contagious?

A: No SIDS is not contagious.

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