Family Health Guide

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is an unexplained death usually during during sleep of an otherwise healthy baby under a year old. SIDS is a subcategory of SUID, which stands for Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Other subcategories of SUID include hypothermia or hyperthermia, metabolic diseases or accidental suffocation. If an infant death is investigated and reported, and no explanation is found, it is classified as SIDS.

Here are the facts about SIDS:

  • It is the leading cause of death in children between the ages of one month and one year. 
  • The current official total of deaths specifically attributed to SIDS was 2,327 in 2006, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that as many as 1,164 additional seemingly healthy babies under a year will also die unexpectedly .  
  • The deaths peak between the ages of 2 and 4 months.
  • Ninety percent occur before 6 months of age. 
  • The condition hits boys more than girls, particularly Native American and African-American babies.
  • Another vulnerable population is premature/low birth weight babies and infants whose mothers did not have prenatal care, or who smoked.
  • SIDS is not caused by vomiting or choking
  • SIDS is not caused by diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTAP) vaccines or other immunizations
  • SIDS is not child abuse or neglect