What is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?

SIDS stands for ʺSudden Infant Death Syndromeʺ. It is the unexplained death of a child younger than 1 year old.
Deborah Mulligan
Deborah Mulligan on behalf of MDLIVE
A lack of answers is part of what makes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) so frightening. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old, and claims the lives of about 2,500 babies each year in the United States. Some people call SIDS "crib death" because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs.

Research has proven that parents can take certain measures to minimize the risk of SIDS ever happening. The “Back to Sleep” Campaign is promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and various other health organizations. First and foremost, infants younger than 1 year old should always be placed on their backs to sleep — never face-down on their stomachs. Grandparents will tell you that babies sleep better on their tummies.  They might be right; however numerous studies have proven that this sleep position significantly increases the risk of sudden death.  A common fear is that by putting babies on their back to sleep may cause them to throw up and choke.  Actually a recent study came to the opposite conclusion.  A study of several thousand infants found that babies who slept on their backs had less congestion and choking.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.