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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Resources from UPMC in Central Pa.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year old that remains unexplained even after a thorough investigation. The best way to reduce the risk of SIDS is to place your baby on his back every time he or she sleeps – at nighttime and naptime.

Safe Sleep

What is the best sleep surface for your baby?

Safe sleep is a major concern for parents. What is the best sleep surface for your baby? Can they sleep with a blanket? Hear from our experts, Candace Jones, DNP, CNM, AMCB, from Women’s Outpatient Center, and Susan Brackbill, MPH, RNC-NIC, from Nurse-Family Partnership to learn important safe sleep practices.

Safe Sleeping Guidelines

In addition to placing your baby on his back when sleeping, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following safe sleeping practices that can help reduce your baby’s risk of sleep-related death and SIDS:

  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • Your infant should sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed. Room sharing allows you to keep a close eye on your sleeping infant, but allowing your infant to sleep in bed with you could cause suffocation or other harm.
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib, including pillows and blankets. Do not use bumper pads, because they pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
  • Sleep positioners, such as wedges, are not recommended. Many of these devices have not been sufficiently tested for safety.
  • Use pacifiers responsibly during naptime and bedtime. If you are breastfeeding, delay pacifier introduction until your baby is one month old. Do not force your baby to take a pacifier, and do not replace the pacifier if it falls out of your baby's mouth while she is sleeping. Do not put any sweet solutions on your baby's pacifier. Pacifiers should be cleaned and inspected regularly for tears or cracks.
  • Keep your baby's head and face uncovered during sleep. Use seasonally appropriate sleep clothing with no other coverings.
  • Do not let your baby become overheated during sleep. Dress your baby as you would dress yourself and keep your baby's room at a temperature that feels comfortable to you (68-72 degrees).

Other Ways to Reduce Risks

In addition to following the AAP’s sleep safety guidelines, there are a number of other things you can do to decrease your baby’s risk of SIDS and sleep-related death. Breastfeeding, up-to-date immunizations and quality prenatal care have all been scientifically proven to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Additional Recommendations

  • Do not smoke during pregnancy
  • Do not allow others to smoke around your infant
  • Schedule and attend all well-baby visits
  • Allow your baby to have supervised “tummy time” when he or she is awake to promote head, shoulder and muscle development

Cribs for Kids® Program

UPMC in central Pa. is a Cribs for Kid's® partner providing a program to educate parents, family members, child care providers, and health professionals about safe infant sleep and SIDS. Learn more about the Cribs for Kids Program.

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