Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains the third leading cause of infant death and the main cause of postneonatal death. However, as the number of accidental infant deaths associated with suffocation and strangulation in bed quadrupled between 1984 and 2004, the Academy responded by revising its policy statement and technical reports on SIDS. Both the policy statement and technical report are titled SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Click here to view the policy statement and click here to review the techinical report.
While abnormalities in an infant’s brain stem and cardiac arrhythmias are attributed to SIDS, other environmental risks can make an infant vulnerable. These risks include stomach sleeping, soft bedding, lack of breastfeeding, incomplete immunizations, bed sharing, overheating, and exposure to maternal smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use. Additionally, new data is immerging that suggests that pacifier use cuts the risk of SIDS in half. Given these new risk factors the Back to Sleep campaign has been converted to the Safe Sleep campaign.
SIDS Alliance: The SIDS Alliance of Georgia and the Division of Public Health are dedicated to supporting families coping with SIDS. Click here for local resources.