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SAFE SLEEP: Facts about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Posted in:DadsMomsSafe SleepYour Growing Child


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and often unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age. Close to 3,700 babies died from SIDS in 2015 making it the leading cause of death for babies. SIDS can affect any baby at any time, even ones that seem healthy. There are ways that you can prevent SIDS in your home. Make sure you know the risks and learn how to build a safe sleep environment for your baby.

No one knows the exact cause for SIDS. However, there are some risk factors that can increase your baby’s chance for SIDS. Learn them and make sure to avoid them. Babies are at a higher risk for SIDS if they:

  • Sleep on their stomach
  • Sleep on a soft surface (like a couch)
  • Overheat when sleeping
  • Are exposed to cigarette smoke
  • Sleep in an adult bed with parents or sleep in a bed with other kids

Thankfully, there are easy ways to avoid the SIDS risk factors and promote a safe sleep environment. You should place your baby on their back to sleep, not their stomach. Make sure that your baby sleeps on a firm and flat sleep surface. Work on sharing a room with your baby, not a bed. Keep soft objects and blankets out of their bed. Click here for more tips, like how breastfeeding can reduce SIDS and giving your baby plenty of tummy time!

Our Safe Sleep Campaign provides safe sleep education and works to reduce the barriers families face when creating a safe sleep environment. The campaign provides tips and resources to save lives and ensure ALL of Delaware’s babies thrive! You can start the path to change by taking the Safe Sleep pledge right now. We owe it to all babies to educate ourselves and help spread the word about Safe Sleep.

© 2023. Delaware Division of Public Health.