How to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
Critical Keys to Keeping Your Baby Safe: SIDS

Car Seat Safety
 The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
 Loud Noises and Infant Hearing
 Other Baby Safety Hazards

SIDS Facts

SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies after 1 month of age.

More SIDS deaths happen in colder months.

African-American babies are twice as likely to die from SIDS than white babies.

Because many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, some people call SIDS "crib death." But cribs do not cause SIDS.

Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The National Center for Health Statistics recorded 2,523 SIDS deaths in the United States in 2000, a considerable drop from 1990 when 5,417 SIDS cases were reported. Medical experts attribute this decline in SIDS cases to growing public awareness resulting from health initiatives, such as the "Back to Sleep" campaign, that educate parents on the possible causes of SIDS and how to avoid this tragedy.

To significantly reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. This is the safest sleep position for a healthy baby. Make sure everyone who cares for your baby - childcare providers, relatives, babysitters - knows this.

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib. Research has shown that placing a baby to sleep on soft mattresses, sofas, sofa cushions, water beds, sheepskins or other soft surfaces can increase the risk of SIDS.

  • Remove soft, fluffy and loose bedding and stuffed toys from your baby's sleep area. Make sure you keep all pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, and other soft items away from your baby's sleep area. Dress your baby in sleep clothing that makes any additional covering over the baby unnecessary.

  • Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don't smoke before or after the birth of your baby and make sure no one smokes around your baby (see "The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke").

  • Don't let your baby get too warm during sleep. Your baby's room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many layers of clothing or blankets can overheat your baby.
  • Do not avoid vaccines for fear of their causing SIDS. There is no detectable link between SIDS and multiple vaccines given in infancy, according to a new study from the Institutes of Medicine, a Washington, D.C.-based private health policy organization.

Read more:


  • CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program  - Offers a fact sheet for parents.

  • EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline  -800-426-4791,  Annual drinking water quality reports for many communities are available online.

  • Poison Control Center National Hotline - 800-222-1222 - If you have a poisoning emergency, call this toll-free number to be routed to a regional center for poison control and prevention. You can also order educational materials from this service.

  • Toy Safety Hotline  - Offers up-to-date information on toy safety.