Tips on reducing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among US babies each year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on SIDS reviews all the latest scientific and clinical evidence about SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths and makes recommendations about the most effective ways to reduce baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and sleep-related deaths, such as suffocation.

It’s important for all caregivers—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, child care providers, and everyone who might care for baby—to learn about safe infant sleep to help reduce baby’s risk. Read below tips on how you can help reduce the risk of SIDS for your child.

  • Room sharing, by putting baby’s sleep space near, but not in, your bed, is safer than sharing your bed with baby. It is also safer than putting baby in their own room.
  • Keeping baby’s sleep space close to your bed makes it easy to check on, feed, and comfort baby without having to get all the way out of bed.
  • Babies with their own sleep space are at lower risk for injury and death from situations like an adult accidentally rolling over them.
  • Couches and armchairs are not safe places for babies to sleep. Do not let babies sleep on these surfaces alone, with you, with someone else, or with pets.
  • Couches and armchairs are especially dangerous when an adult falls asleep while feeding, comforting, or snuggling baby. If you are tired, avoid these surfaces.
  • If you bring baby into your bed for feeding or comforting, remove or clear away all soft items and bedding from your side of the bed before you start. When finished, put baby back in a sleep area made just for babies, like a portable crib, close to your bed.
  • Sharing an adult bed with baby can be risky, especially in some situations.
    • Very high risk:
      • Adult is very tired, taking medication that makes them drowsy, using substances like alcohol, or whose reflexes or attention is affected in some way
      • Adult smokes cigarettes or uses tobacco products (even if they do not smoke in the bed)
      • Sleep surface is soft, such as a waterbed, old adult mattress, couch, or armchair
    • High risk:
      • Baby is younger than 4 months old (regardless of adult smoking or sleep surface)
      • Adult is not the baby’s parent, but is another caregiver, such as a grandparent or sibling
    • Higher-than-normal risk:
      • Baby was born preterm (before 37 weeks) or born at a low birth weight
      • Sleep area includes soft or loose items, such as pillows or blankets
  • If you fall asleep while feeding or comforting baby in your bed, put them back in a separate sleep area as soon as you wake up. Research shows that the longer an adult shares a bed with baby, the higher baby’s risk for suffocation and other sleep-related death.



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