The leading causes of infant mortality are congenital malformation (medical conditions at birth), prematurity and low birth weight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by medical history and remains unexplained after a thorough autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation.
SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies after one month of age to one year of age. African American babies are twice as likely to die of SIDS as a Caucasian baby and Native American babies are three times more likely to die of SIDS than a Caucasian baby.
Many infant deaths are attributed to SIDS when, in fact, the infant dies due to unsafe sleep practices. Research shows that there are several ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death:
The actions listed here and in Safe to Sleep® materials and publications are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on SIDS. You can read the latest Policy Statement from the AAP Task Force on SIDS.
How to create a safe sleep environment?
• Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, every time.
• Place your baby on a firm, safety-approved crib mattress covered by a tight fitted sheet.
• Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
• Do not allow smoking around your baby.
• Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where others and you are sleeping.
• Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep.
• Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
• Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.
• Reduce the chance flat spots will develop on your baby’s head by providing supervised
• Make sure everyone who takes care of your baby follows these simple steps.
What does a safe sleep environment look like?
See image below.