You Can Lower Your Baby’s Risk of SIDS — Before Birth and After

You Can Lower Your Baby's Risk of SIDS - Large

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The prospect of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) understandably frightens new and expecting parents. It is one of the leading causes of infant death in America.

You can help ease your anxiety and reduce your baby’s risk by understanding SIDS risk factors and the preventive steps you can take. There may be more than you think.

A 2015 study in the journal Pediatrics concludes that how your baby sleeps is key to her risk of SIDS — but not the whole story. The researchers say other factors are also involved, and many are in your control. These include smoking, prenatal care, breastfeeding and immunizations, among others.

How your baby sleeps is key to her risk of SIDS — but not the whole story.

Safe Sleep Practices Contribute to SIDS Decrease

The study analyzed data on more than 900,000 infant deaths from 1983 to 2012. SIDS deaths in the United States fell 71 percent during that time, and researchers credit the “Back to Sleep” campaign of the 1990s for the decline. This reflects the importance and impact of safe sleep practices that include placing babies on their backs to sleep and removing soft bedding and toys from cribs, among other tactics.

Much of the decrease in SIDS deaths happened in the early years of the campaign. Rates in the last decade have shown little change. To budge them, the researchers say they need to better understand the underlying mechanisms that make children vulnerable to SIDS.

You Can Lower Your Baby's Risk of SIDS - In Content

How to Lower SIDS Risk Factors

In the meantime, they encourage parents to take these preventive steps that are known to reduce SIDS risk:

  • Get early prenatal care
  • Breastfeed
  • Protect your baby from exposure to smoking, while in the womb and after birth Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to have a baby die of SIDS.
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use.
  • Stay on schedule for immunizations. A baby who is up-to-date with vaccines has 50 percent less SIDS risk.
  • Create a safe sleep environment for your baby. Safe sleep practices lower the risk of death from suffocation, strangulation, entrapment and SIDS.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

Small Steps: Borrow a Safe Crib
If you only have one, borrow an extra so your babies can have the safest sleep possible.

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