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SIDS and Safe Infant Sleep

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age. Because many babies are found in their cribs, SIDS is also referred to as "crib death". However, cribs do not cause SIDS.

The exact cause of SIDS is still not known. What is known about SIDS is that:

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies older than 1 month of age
  • most SIDS deaths occur in babies who are between 2 and 4 months of age
  • babies placed to sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS than babies placed to sleep on their backs
  • African American babies are twice as likely to die from SIDS than white babies

There are ways you can help lower the risk of SIDS for your baby, including:

  • always place your baby to sleep on his or her back - at nap-time and night-time
  • place your baby to sleep in a safety approved crib with a firm and close fitting mattress
  • never place your baby to sleep on a soft mattress, waterbed, sofa cushion, sheepskin or other soft surface
  • remove all loose and fluffy bedding from your baby's sleep environment
  • make sure your baby's head and face remain uncovered during sleep
  • do not smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and create a "smoke-free zone" around your baby in which no one else is allowed to smoke
  • do not let your baby overheat during sleep - the temperature of your baby's room should be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult
  • be aware of the dangers of sleeping with your baby - an adult bed is not a safe sleep environment for a baby

"Tummy Time": it is important for your baby to have supervised time on his or her stomach while awake to make your baby's neck and shoulder muscles stronger. Never leave your baby on his or her stomach while unsupervised.

© Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood - Invest in Children Child Fatality Review Committee

The Child Death Review Program is funded by: Cuyahoga County, and The Child and Family Health Services Block Grant provided through the Ohio Department of Health. The Child Death Review Program is administered by: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health.