How to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Here are some things you can do to help reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

How can you make sure your baby’s sleeping in a safe place?

  • Put your baby to sleep on his back on a flat, firm surface, like a crib mattress covered with a tightly fitted sheet. Use a safety-approved mattress and crib.
  • Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to learn more about product safety standards or product recalls.
  • Put your baby to bed in his own crib or bassinet. Don’t bed-share. Share a room with your baby, but not the same bed. If you have multiples (twins, triplets or more), put each baby in his own bassinet or crib.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys.
  • Don’t let your baby sleep in his carrier, sling, car seat or stroller.
  • Don’t put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress or other soft surface. Portable bed rails don’t always prevent a baby from rolling out of bed. Babies can get stuck in them and choke.
  • Remove any hanging window cords or electrical wires near where your baby sleeps. Babies can get tangled in them and choke.

How do you put your baby to sleep safely?

  • Place your baby on her back at all sleep times until she’s 1 year old – this includes naps and at night.
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot while she’s sleeping. Dress her in light sleep clothes. A blanket sleeper (a kind of clothing just for sleeping) can help keep your baby warm without covering his face or head. If your baby is sweating or her chest feels hot, she may be overheated.
  • Give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime. Pacifiers may help protect against SIDS. Wait until your baby is 1 month old before using the pacifier, if you’re breastfeeding.

What else can you do to help reduce the risk of SIDS?

  • Breastfeed your baby. The longer you exclusively breastfeed your baby, the lower the risk of SIDS for your baby.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy. Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.

Learn more about how to help your baby sleep safely at: marchofdimes.org

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