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SIDS Awareness Month


October has officially begun and so has Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month! We hope to help spread awareness and education by providing an overview, statistics, and risk factors, and resources.

What is SIDS?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. A diagnosis of SIDS is made if the baby’s death remains unexplained even after a death scene investigation, an autopsy, and a review of the clinical history. About 2,300 babies in the United States die of SIDS each year. SIDS is more likely to affect a baby who is between 1 and 4 months old, it is more common in boys than girls, and most deaths occur during the fall, winter and early spring months.

Risk Factors and Causes

SIDS is a mysterious syndrome, since by its very definition the cause cannot be determined. But certain risk factors do exist. Some babies are more at risk than others.

Factors that may place a baby at higher risk of dying from SIDS include the following:

  • babies who sleep on their stomach or their side rather than their back

  • overheating while sleeping

  • too soft a sleeping surface, with fluffy blankets or toys

  • mothers who smoke during pregnancy (three times more likely to have a baby with SIDS)

  • exposure to passive smoke from smoking by mothers, fathers, and others in the household doubles a baby's risk of SIDS

  • mothers who are younger than 20 years old at the time of their first pregnancy

  • babies born to mothers who had little, late, or no prenatal care

  • premature or low birth weight babies

  • having a sibling who died of SIDS

2020 Safe Sleep Campaign #safesleepsnap

In recognition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, the #SafeSleepSnap activity encourages safe infant sleep advocates and infant caregivers to come together on social media to share safe infant sleep images and messages, help normalize safe sleep practices, and celebrate the role that all caregivers have in keeping baby safe during every sleep.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to have fun and be creative with this activity. It’s easy! Just post a photo of a baby in a safe sleep area or of baby and caregiver(s) next to a safe sleep area on your own social media accounts, using the #SafeSleepSnap hashtag. Parents and caregivers can show other family members in their photos as well, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and child care providers (nannies and babysitters).

Childcare service providers and organizations can join the fun by promoting this activity on their social media channels and asking their audiences to participate.

For a quick guide on how to participate, be sure to use our Before-You-Post Checklist.

Thanks to our helpful sources:

WIC- Handouts, Resources, Guides

NIH Safe Sleep

Boston Children's Hospital



Stay tuned for next week's article: 15 Ways to Help Prevent SIDS.

As always- like, comment, and share!


Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN

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