Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Recommendations to reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Approximately 80% of all infant deaths in NYC due to injury are considered sleep-related, or related to the infant’s sleep position and environment.

The number of infant deaths from a sleep-related injury in NYC has not changed significantly in the past several years -- every year, on average, 48 infants die from a sleep-related injury.

The following recommendations to reduce the risk of a sleep-related death have been adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Always place your baby to sleep on his/her back for every sleep (naptime and bedtime)
    • Your baby should be placed entirely on his/her back; side sleeping is not recommended
    • Every day, provide supervised, awake tummy time for your baby. Tummy time helps promote muscle development and coordination
    • Note that once your infant can roll from back to stomach and from stomach to back (usually around 4 to 6 months), he/she can remain in the sleep position that he/she assumes
  • Use a firm crib mattress and tightly fitted sheet specifically designed for your crib
    • Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that has been approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
    • Never put your baby to sleep on an adult bed, bouncy seat, infant swing, car safety seat, sofa, couch, futon, waterbed, sheepskin, or other soft mattress — not even for a nap
  • Nothing but your baby should be in the crib
    • No pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects should be in the crib
  • Never sleep in the same bed, sofa or other surface as your baby (sometimes referred to as bed-sharing)
  • Sleeping in the same room as your baby (sometimes referred to as room-sharing) is recommended
    • Place the crib or bassinet near your bed to make it easier to feed, bond with and monitor your baby
    • Breastfeeding mothers should place their baby back into the crib before going to sleep
  • Avoid smoke exposure and alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth
  • Breastfeeding is recommended, as it reduces the risk of SIDS
    • Babies fed only breast milk receive the greatest protection against SIDS, but any breastfeeding is more protective against SIDS than no breastfeeding
  • Consider offering your baby a pacifier at naptime and bedtime
    • The pacifier should not be attached to infant clothing or stuffed toys due to the risk of strangulation
    • For breastfed infants, delay pacifier use until breastfeeding has been firmly established, usually by 3 to 4 weeks of age
  • Avoid overheating
    • In general, infants should be dressed appropriately for the environment, with no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment
    • Check your baby for signs of overheating, such as sweating or your baby’s chest feels hot to the touch

More Resources

For additional information, visit the links below: