Since 1994, SIDS rates in the US have decreased about 75%. Despite this significant decrease, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for children from 28 days old to 1 year old. Below, you will find some of the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that were updated in 2022 to prevent sleep-related death in infants less than 1 year old (AAP, 2022):
Sleep position: Laying on their back is the safest way for an infant to sleep. The exception to this rule: infants who can roll from back-to-front AND front-to-back can remain in the position they move into.
Sleep surface: Infants should be placed on a flat, firm surface without incline. Cribs should meet the safety standards of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Use of bedding: Pillows, blankets, mattress toppers, soft toys, loose bedding, bumper pads, and other soft objects increase risk for suffocation.
Sleep location: Infants should sleep in their parents’ room and close to the bed, but on their own surface (i.e. crib, basinet). Bedsharing is highly controversial, but due to soft bedding and risk for head covering.
Pacifier use: Using a pacifier can lower risk for SIDS. If the pacifier falls out once the infant is asleep, it does not need to be reinserted.
Overheating: Infants should be dressed in no more than one additional layer of clothing than an adult would comfortably wear. Avoid over-bundling and use of hats while indoors.
Swaddling: Place swaddled babies on their back, but once an infant can roll swaddling should no longer be used.
Some of the other factors that can lower the risk for SIDS include breastfeeding, staying up to date on vaccine schedule (based on CDC guidelines), avoiding smoke exposure, and using tummy time during the day. For more information about safe sleeping, click here to read the Healthy Children’s article regarding safe sleep.
And remember: back to sleep, tummy to play!
Moon, R., Carlin, R., & Hand, I. (2022). Evidence Base for 2022 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Sleep Infant Sleeping Environment to Reduce the Risk of Sleep-Related Infant Deaths. Pediatrics, 150(1). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2022-057991