Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)


SIDS is an unexpected sudden death of infant under age 1 year old in which autopsy does not show and explain the cause of death. Exact cause of SIDS is unknown, and it is thought to be attributed by different factors. Surely as a parent it is be the best interest to ensure the safety of the little ones.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidelines in Oct 2005 regarding SIDS, as follows:

  • Always put baby to sleep on its back, nighttime or naptime. Never put a baby to sleep on its stomach, or side sleeping. Side sleeping is more unstable. If you are worried about your baby forming a flat spot on the head due to sleeping in one position, you can allow the baby to roll around on the tummy while he or she is awake and under adult supervision.
  • Put baby to sleep only in their own crib. Never put baby to sleep in the bed with other kids or adults, where the bed is not specially designed for baby. It applies to pillows, sofa and sofa cushion, on pillows, sofa cushion, adult beds, waterbeds, airbeds, beanbags or sheepskins which are not designed for babies.
  • Keep any loose item and soft objects away from the crib. If you are using bumper-pads, it should be well-secured to the crib.
  • Safest place for baby to sleep if on the same room as the parents or at least caregiver. They should sleep at their own cribs. At least they should be with an adult. Parents will be the best choice, since it will allow baby to get night-time feeding.
  • Avoid soft bedding or mattress. Baby should sleep on a firm, tight-fitting mattress without any other item between the baby and mattress except fitted sheet and mattress pad. Use of pillow, comforters or quilts is not recommended.
  • Adjust room temperature to baby’s comfort. Room where baby sleep should not be too hot or too cold. As guidance, the room should be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult. Your baby should not be hot to touch.
  • Pacifier can be used when going to sleep. Never try to reinsert the pacifier after your baby fall asleep. Pacifier should not be coated with any sweet solution, should be cleaned often and replaced regularly. Use of pacifier at naptime and bedtime is linked to reduce the risk of SIDS. It is thought to be from the wider opening of baby’s airway, or preventing the baby from falling into a deep sleep. Baby which wakes up easily has more risk to move out to more dangerous position without adult close watch. For baby who is breastfeeding, it is better to hold off the pacifier use until at least one month so it would not confuse the baby. Never force your baby to use a pacifier if he or she refuses.
  • Commercial gadget or tools which are marketed to monitor babies as a way to reduce SIDS has not been shown to be productive to prevent SIDS. Currently the use of home breathing/apnea monitors has largely stopped.
  • Keep your baby away from a smoking environment during pregnancy and after he or she is born. Smoke free environment also prevent your baby from having another medical problems.
  • Breastfeeding you baby may provide protective effect against SIDS. Breastfeed baby usually is easier to arouse than baby who is feed using formula milk.
  • Avoid development of positional plagiocephaly (flat spot on baby head due to placed on one position for too long) by encouraging “tummy time” when the baby is awake and under the close monitoring of an adult.

Always consult your pediatrician if you have any health-related concerns on your child!

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