10 Steps to Help Prevent SIDS

Put a Sleeping Baby on Their Back
Your baby’s risk of SIDS is much higher any time they sleep on their side or stomach.
(A baby placed on their side can roll over on their stomach.) These positions put your baby’s face in the
mattress or sleeping area, which can smother them.

Firm Bed, No Soft Toys or Bedding
To prevent smothering or suffocation, always lay your baby down to sleep on either a firm mattress or
surface in a crib or bassinet. All your baby’s crib needs is the fitted sheet — don’t put blankets, quilts,
pillows, sheepskin, stuffed toys, or crib bumpers in your baby’s crib.

Don’t Smoke Around Your Baby
If you smoke, here’s a huge reason to stop before you get pregnant: Babies born to women who smoked
during pregnancy die from SIDS three times more often than babies born to nonsmokers.
Smoking when you’re pregnant is a major risk factor for SIDS, and secondhand smoke around your infant
also increases the chances of SIDS. Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby.

Keep Your Sleeping Baby Close, but Not in Your Bed
When a baby sleeps in the same room as mom, studies show it lowers the risk of SIDS. But it’s dangerous
for a baby to sleep with another child or an adult in the same bed, in an armchair, and on a couch.

If you bring your baby into your bed for comforting or breastfeeding, be sure to put the baby back in their
own cradle, bassinet, or crib when you’re ready to sleep. If you are tired, don’t breastfeed while sitting in
a chair or on a couch in case you fall asleep.

Never bring the baby to bed with you when you’re very tired or using medicines that affect your sleep.

Breastfeed as Long as You Can
Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%, though experts aren’t sure why.
Some think breast milk may protect babies from infections that raise their SIDS risk. Do not drink alcohol if
you breastfeed, because that raises your baby’s risk of SIDS. In addition, the simple touch is helpful.
Skin-to-skin contact is important for your baby’s development.

Immunize Your Baby
Evidence shows babies who’ve been immunized in accordance with recommendations from the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have a 50% reduced risk of SIDS compared with
babies who aren’t fully immunized.

Consider Using a Pacifier to Put Baby to Sleep
Putting your baby to sleep with a pacifier may also help prevent SIDS, though researchers aren’t sure why.
There are a few tips to follow when using a pacifier:

If you’re breastfeeding, wait until your baby is breastfeeding regularly (at least 1 month old) before starting
to use a pacifier. Introducing a pacifier too soon can lead to nipple confusion and cause your baby to prefer
the pacifier’s nipple over your own.

Don’t force your baby to take the pacifier if they don’t want it.
Put the pacifier in your baby’s mouth when you put them down to sleep, but don’t put it back in their mouth
after they fall asleep.

Keep the pacifier clean, and buy a new one if the nipple is damaged.

Don’t coat the pacifier with honey, alcohol, or any other substance.

Keep Your Baby From Overheating
Because overheating may raise a baby’s risk of SIDS, dress your infant in light, comfortable clothes
for sleeping, and keep the room temperature at a level that’s comfortable for an adult.

Steer Clear of Products That Claim to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
It’s best to avoid any product that says it can lower your baby’s risk of SIDS, because they haven’t
been proven safe or effective. Cardiac monitors and electronic respirators also haven’t been proven
to reduce SIDS risk, so avoid these, too.

Don’t Give Honey to an Infant Under 1 Year Old
Because honey can lead to botulism in very young children, never give honey to a child under 1 year old.
Botulism and the bacteria that cause it may be linked to SIDS.