Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden death of a child under 1 year old that can not be explained by any other cause. SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age.
The number of SIDS cases has decreased significantly since the 1990s, when pediatricians began advising parents to put infants to sleep on their backs, according to the Safe to Sleep campaign.
The cause of SIDS is unknown, but the risk is significantly reduced by putting infants to sleep on their backs and following other crib safety recommendations.
The following dos and don'ts of crib safety can help reduce the risk of SIDS:
- Have your baby sleep on his or her back.
- Keep the crib as bare as possible.
- Make your home a smoke-free environment.
- Keep a fan in the baby’s room. It can reduce the risk of SIDS by 70 percent.
- Put the crib in the parents’ bedroom until the infant is 6 months old.
- Overstuff the crib with full bedding, extra pillows or bumper pads. If you need to use a bumper pad, opt for a flat one.
- Use sleep wedges, unless your doctor recommends them.
- Leave stuffed animals in the crib.
- Overheat the baby with extra blankets.
- Keep the baby dressed in a skullcap.
- Use loose sheets and blankets. Do use one tightly fitted sheet around the mattress and keep the baby in a sleep sack with a closed bottom and arm openings.