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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Charles Sprague, M.D.​
​Boys Town Pediatrics

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has got to be every new parent's biggest fear. So it is truly, an unknown cause. The kids for reasons we do not fully understand just quit breathing, they just fade off to sleep. It is not an aspiration event, it is not choking that would be a known cause of death.

What age is my baby at the most risk for SIDS?

By definition, it is 1 month to 12 months of age. Up to a year of age, but 90% of the deaths from SIDS occur prior to 6 months of age. And your biggest risk is 2 to 4 months by far.

What factors can put my baby at risk for SIDS?

People that have very poor prenatal care and maternal smoking are probably the two biggest things you can control even before the baby is born. Smoking during pregnancy is a huge risk factor for SIDS as is smoking afterwards of course, as well.

What can I do to help prevent SIDS?

Most important by far, is sleeping on the back. When we went to the "Back to Sleep" campaign in the mid-90s, since then the incidence of SIDS has dropped by over 50% with that one intervention. So, just make sure your kid is always on the back.

Next would be the pacifier, it has shown to be very protective. Why? No one knows for sure, but just that little bit of neuro stimulation tends to help lower your incidents and prevent some SIDS deaths.

Sleeping in the same room but in your individual space and both parts to that equation are important. Sleeping in the room is important and helpful, but co-sleeping in the same bed is a big risk factor for SIDS. So, you want them in a basinet or crib within your own bedroom.

Should I buy any of the products claiming to help prevent SIDS?

None of the products that you see on the market, would we recommend to use for the prevention of SIDS. There is absolutely zero evidence to say that they help. Some of them actually probably cause problems and additional risk factors.​​

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant younger than one year of age. Dr. Charles Sprague, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains the biggest risks for SIDS and what you can do to help prevent SIDS.