At Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny, we guide families with the most current SIDS research and prevention recommendations and encourage them to discuss it thoroughly with their caregivers. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby under one year, usually while she is sleeping. The exact cause is unknown but it may associated with brain defects in the area that controls breathing and arousal from sleep. SIDS is still the leading cause of death for U.S. babies from one month to one year.

Risk Factors

  • Low birth weight and prematurity
  • Respiratory infection
  • Brain defects
  • Infants ages 2-4 months are the most vulnerable
  • Babies of color are at a higher risk than white babies of developing SIDS
  • Boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS
  • Family history of SIDS
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

Maternal Risk Factors

Mothers who are younger than 20, smoke cigarettes, use drugs or alcohol, or do not have adequate prenatal care are at a higher risk for having a baby who develops SIDS. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to be aware of these risk factors and eliminate these behaviors whenever possible.

SIDS Prevention Methods

  • Placing a baby on his back to sleep
  • Use a firm mattress in an empty crib free of pillows and toys
  • Use a sleep sack or swaddle to keep your baby warm
  • Do not cover your baby’s head while he is sleeping
  • Have your baby sleep in your room for at least the first 6 months, ideally for up to a year
  • Smoke-free environment
  • Pacifier use
  • Breast-fed babies are at a lower risk of developing SIDS
  • Immunizations

Parents should be aware of the risk factors of SIDS and understand the prevention methods to prepare a safe environment for their baby. Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny provides newborn care services to parents and education courses such as Sleep Coaching 101: Healthy and Safe Sleep Practices.