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Tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants:

  • Place babies on the backs every time they go to sleep.  Avoid sleeping on the stomach and sides.
  • Use a firm sleep surface- a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet is recommended.
  • Room-sharing without bed sharing is recommended.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, and strangulation.
  • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
  • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth. Around one-third of all SIDS deaths could be prevented if maternal smoking could be eliminated.
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. Because of the risk of strangulation, do NOT hang the pacifier around the infant's neck. There is no need to put the pacifier back in if it comes out when the baby is asleep.
  • Avoid overheating-infants should wear no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment.
  • Infants should be immunized in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS (eg, wedges, positioners, special mattresses). There is no evidence that these reduce the risk of SIDS or that they are safe.
  • Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS. There is no evidence that they are effective.
  • Supervised awake "tummy-time" is recommended. This will help to counteract any effects of regular back sleeping on muscle development or the chance of developing flattening of the head.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Page Last Updated: March 13, 2018

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