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Ten Ways to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

In 1994, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development created the "Back to Sleep" campaign to help educate parents, caregivers, and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or "SIDS", the leading cause of death for infants between the ages of 2 to 4 months.

Researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had previously determined that putting babies to sleep on their backs, as opposed to their stomachs or sides, was the safest way to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep related "crib deaths." Since the release of the campaign, the number of SIDS related deaths has decreased drastically -- in some instances as much as 50 percent.

Below are ten ways parents and others who care for a baby can reduce the risk of SIDS. See FindLaw's Patient Rights Basics section for related articles and resources.

  1. Infants should always be placed for sleep in on their back for naps and at night. Side or "tummy" sleeping is not as safe as sleeping on the back and is not advised.
  2. Use a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress with a fitted sheet.
  3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of the crib.
  4. Do not smoke during pregnancy, or allow anyone to smoke around a baby.
  5. The baby's sleep environment should be separate, but close to where you and other's sleep.
  6. Get a crib that conforms to current CPSC safety standards.
  7. Consider offering a clean, dry pacifier at nap time and bedtime, but do not force the baby to take it. If the baby breastfeeds, wait until he or she is at least one month old or until after breastfeeding has been established.
  8. Do not allow a baby to overheat during sleep.
  9. Do not rely on home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  10. Encourage "tummy time" when the infant is awake and observed.

To learn more about how to reduce the risk of SIDS, click on the following links:


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