Preventing SIDS

How can I prevent SIDS?

Anyone who cares for your baby should always follow the "Safe Sleep Top 10": 

1.  Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. This is the #1 way to reduce your baby's risk for SIDS! The back sleep position is the safest. Every sleep time counts—naps and overnight. Babies will not choke in this position, as some people used to fear.

2.  Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. For information on crib safety guidelines, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 or Never place your baby to sleep on a sofa, pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.

3.  Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area. Don't use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, and pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby's sleep area. Keep any other items out of the crib or sleep area—and away from your baby's face.

4.  Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don't smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don't let others smoke around your baby. A mother's smoking while pregnant increases the baby's chance of SIDS. If an infant breathes secondhand smoke, the risk of SIDS rises.

5.  Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children. He or she can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring the baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside infant bed that attaches to an adult bed when finished.

6.  Offer your infant a clean, dry pacifier when placing him or her down to sleep, but don't force the baby to take it. Babies who are breastfed should not use a pacifier until they are 1 month old or are used to breastfeeding.

7.  Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing.  Keep the room temperature comfortable for adults.

8.  Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.  Most of these products have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.

9.  Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.

10.  Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby's head.  Give your baby  "Tummy Time" when he or she is awake and someone is watching. When your baby sleeps, change the direction that he or she baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.

Doctors also advise that children younger than a year old should never have honey. Honey can cause botulism in very young children. Botulism is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by bacteria; the disease can affect a baby's breathing and may be associated with SIDS.