October is Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness Month. Each year, there are about 3,400 sudden unexpected infant deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020, approximately 41% of these deaths were due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), while another 27% were due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
Several months ago, the Safe Sleep for Babies Act went into effect, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or distribute crib bumpers or inclined sleepers for infants. Crib bumpers are dangerous because of the risk of suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation, while sleepers that incline more than 10 degrees allow babies to fall asleep in a chin-to-chest position, which can restrict their airway.
Mary Aitken, MD, MPH, the Dan L Duncan Distinguished University Chair in Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, shares some tips to keep your baby sleeping safely, and other things to avoid.
- Put your baby on a flat, firm surface.
- Use sleep sacks, which are designed to safely keep your baby warm and comfortable.
- Use a wearable blanket that’s the right size for your baby.
- Use products that are specifically marketed for sleep, such as cribs, bassinets, play yards, and bedside sleepers.
- Share a room with your baby, which can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
- Follow the safe sleep policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Don't use a sleeper or positioner that inclines more than 10 degrees.
- Don't let your baby sleep on adult beds or soft furniture.
- Don't use soft bedding, pillows, cushions, or stuffed animals.
- Don't use weighted blankets, sleepers, swaddles, or other weighted objects.
- Don't use crib bumpers, which have been linked to more than 100 infant deaths over the past 30 years.
- Don't use infant loungers or other products that are not marketed as sleepers.
- Don't share a bed with your baby under any circumstances.
- Don't use commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS or other sleep-related deaths; there is no evidence that these claims are true.
For more information about SIDS and safe sleep, visit https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/.
Media Inquiries: 713-500-3030