You Are At: AllSands Home > Health > Advice > Prevent sudden infant death syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under one year of age and sometimes older. It is often referred to as crib death.

SIDS is the number one cause of death of children between one month and one year of age. Most SIDS deaths occur when a baby is between 2 and 4 months old. More boys than girls are victims and most deaths occur during the colder months.

There are no known causes for SIDS, but there are some things parents can do to reduce the risk of their babies dying from SIDS.

1. Place your healthy baby on his or her back to sleep, even for naps.

For years, doctors have told that babies should sleep on their stomachs. But they now know that fewer babies die from SIDS if they sleep on their backs.

Some mothers worry that their infants will choke on spit-up or vomit during sleep. But there is no evidence that sleeping on their back causes choking or other problems.

2. Place your healthy baby on his or her side.

Back sleeping has the lowest risk of SIDS. The side position does not provide as much protection against SIDS as back sleeping, but it much better than placing your baby on his or her tummy.

Your baby can be placed on his or her stomach when they are awake. Some time on their tummy is good for them.

3. Place your baby on a firm mattress

Don't let your baby sleep on a futon, waterbed, soft mattress, pillow, soft cushion or beanbag chair. Anything that bunches up around the baby's face or head is hazardous. Remove soft bedding from the crib, including pillows, quilts, comforters and stuffed animals or toys.

4. Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep. Babies are at increased risk of SIDS if they get their head covered during sleep.

5. Keep the temperature in your baby's room so that it feels comfortable to you.

6. Create a smoke-free environment around your baby both before and after birth. Exposure to smoke double the chance of dying from SIDS.