SIDS is the sudden unexplained death of an infant under one year of age. We still do not know what causes SIDS. To diagnose a death as SIDS, three things must happen. The infant must undergo a complete autopsy, a thorough death scene investigation will be done, and a review of the clinical history of the infant will be completed. The SIDS Program in Riverside County focuses on providing education about SIDS and safe sleep to professionals and the public. The SIDS Coordinator provides grief counseling referrals and support to the families who have experienced a death. We may not know the cause of SIDS, but many accidental deaths occur with unsafe sleep environments. There are many risk factors that place a baby in danger of dying during sleep, the Coordinator works hard to make sure people are aware and can avoid these risk factors.

The California SIDS Program and Riverside County both follow the risk reduction recommendations provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  1. Back to sleep for every sleep.

  2. Use a firm sleep surface.

  3. Breastfeeding is recommended.

  4. It is recommended that infants sleep in their parents' room, close to the parents' bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.

  5. Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the infant's sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.

  6. Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

  7. Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.

  8. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.

  9. Avoid overheating and head covering in infants.

  10. Pregnant women should obtain regular prenatal care.

  11. Infants should be immunized in accordance with recommendations of the AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  12. Avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with Safe Sleep recommendations.

  13. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.

  14. Supervised awake tummy time is recommended to facilitate development and to minimize development of positional plagiocephaly.

  15. There is no evidence to recommend swaddling as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.

  16. Health care professionals, staff in newborn nurseries and NICUs, and child care providers should endorse and model the SIDS risk-reduction recommendations from birth.

  17. Media and manufacturers should follow safe sleep guidelines in their messaging and advertising.

  18. Continue the "Safe Sleep" campaign, focusing on ways to reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS, suffocation, and other unintentional deaths. Pediatricians and other primary care providers should actively participate in this campaign.

  19. Continue research and surveillance on the risk factors, causes, and pathophysiologic mechanisms of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, with the ultimate goal of eliminating these deaths altogether.

Safe sleep for your baby

Safe sleep for your baby