SUIDs are reported as one of three types of infant deaths:
- Sudden infant death syndrome
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained. It can happen without warning to a baby who seems healthy. One reason a baby is more likely to die of SIDS is if he is born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or with low birthweight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces).
- Unknown cause
This is the death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained because an investigation was not conducted. Therefore, cause of death could not be determined.
- Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed
Suffocation can occur if an infant is put to sleep on soft bedding or a pillow. It can also happen when a person rolls on top of an infant or when he becomes wedged between two objects such as a mattress and the bed frame. Strangulation can happen when an infant’s head and neck become caught between two objects such as crib railings.
What can you do?
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month. It is important to understand your baby’s individual risk factors, and learn ways to reduce them:
- ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.
- Learn the safest ways to put your baby to sleep
- Do not smoke. Babies of parents who smoke are more likely to die of SIDS than other babies.
- Give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime.
- There are many myths about SIDS – learn the facts.
- Place your baby in her own bassinet or crib to sleep near your bed, but do not share the same bed.
The good news is that SUIDs has significantly declined – from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 in 1990 to 39.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2013 – as a result of safe sleep messaging. See the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep recommendations and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Safe to Sleep campaign.
Have questions? Text or email us at Askus@marchofdimes.org.