Safe to Sleep messages address sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) risk as well as other sleep-related causes of infant deaths
In 1994, the NICHD, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other partners launched the Back to Sleep campaign, to inform parents and caregivers about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, defined as the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year of age. Initially, the campaign focused on encouraging parents to put infants on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since the campaign began, U.S. SIDS rates have dropped by 50% overall and the rate of back sleeping has increased significantly. In fact among African Americans, and the rate of back sleeping among infants has tripled.
While the SIDS rate has been declining, the rate of other sleep-related causes of infant death—deaths that are related to where a baby sleeps—has been on the rise in large part because of unrecognized dangers in the sleep environment. Communities are seeing increases in accidental suffocation, strangulation, entrapment—when a baby gets caught between two objects, such as a mattress and a wall, and can't breathe—and other accidental causes of infant death.
To better inform parents and caregivers about these and other issues related to reducing infant mortality, the NICHD and its collaborators launched the Safe to Sleep education campaign. Safe to Sleep builds upon the success of the Back to Sleep campaign and includes messages about reducing the risk of SIDS and of other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation and entrapment. Safe to Sleep information also addresses some prenatal care and infant care issues as they relate to SIDS.
The NICHD has led federal research efforts to understand SIDS and its causes since the 1970s. Institute-supported research has led to significant advances in our understanding of SIDS and its possible mechanisms. The public education efforts of the NICHD, its partners in the Back to Sleep campaign, and other organizations have also contributed to the 50% reduction in SIDS rates.
However, in the past decade, the number of sleep-related infant deaths has risen sharply. To help address all sleep-related causes of infant death, including SIDS, the AAP released updated safe infant sleep recommendations in 2011. These recommendations form the basis for the messages in the new Safe to Sleep materials.
Safe to Sleep Messages and Resources
Safe to Sleep Collaborations
Safe to Sleep Outreach
Safe to Sleep Tradition
Safe to Sleep Messages and Resources
Each year, thousands of babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly. These deaths are called sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). SUID includes all unexpected infant deaths, those with a clear cause, such as an accident, and those from an unknown cause, such as SIDS. In recent years, the rates of SUID from sleep-related causes, those are related to how or where an infant slept, have increased. These types of SUID are accidental and can include suffocation, entrapment (when baby gets caught between two objects, such as a mattress and a wall, and can't breathe), and strangulation (when something presses on or wraps around baby's neck, blocking baby's airway).
In addition to information about ways to reduce the risk for SIDS, the expanded Safe to Sleep campaign messages include ways to improve the safety of the baby's sleep area to reduce the risk of accidental sleep-related causes of infant death. For example, keeping crib bumpers, toys, stuffed animals, blankets and loose bedding out of the baby's sleep area is one way parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of these accidental sleep-related causes of death.
Safe to Sleep materials are currently available for download through the Safe to Sleep website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS. New items include: