Safe Sleep


What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) are terms that describe the sudden and unexpected death of an infant 12 months old or less when the cause was not obvious before investigation, usually occurring during sleep or in the sleep area. Around 3,400 babies in the US die suddenly each year.

Ensuring that the baby's sleeping area is safe and avoiding risky sleep environments such as co-sleeping, are great ways to prevent SIDS. In general, baby's sleep area should:

  • Have a firm, flat sleep surface covered by a tightly-fitted sheet.
  • Be in the same room you sleep in until at least 6 months or, ideally, until baby is 1 year old.
  • Be cleared of soft bedding like pillows, blankets, bumper pads, and soft toys.
  • Do not cover baby's head or allow baby to get too hot. Signs of overheating include sweating or chest feeling hot.
  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back for all sleep times.

The CDC supports the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) 2016 recommendations to further reduce the risk of SIDS, which include:

  • Do not smoke during pregnancy. Do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Visit your baby's health care provider for regular checkups.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap and bedtime.

For more information, visit the CDC website and check the Safe Sleep NC website.