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Known Risk Factors for SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death

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Research shows that several factors put babies at higher risk for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed to sleep on their stomachs, such as for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS.

Babies are at higher risk for SIDS if they:

  • Sleep on their stomachs

  • Sleep on soft surfaces, such as an adult mattress, couch, or chair or under soft coverings

  • Sleep on or under soft or loose bedding

  • Get too hot during sleep

  • Are exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or in their environment, such as at home, in the car, in the bedroom, or other areas

  • Sleep in an adult bed with parents, other children, or pets; this situation is especially dangerous if:
    • The adult smokes, has recently had alcohol, or is tired.

    • The baby is covered by a blanket or quilt.

    • The baby sleeps with more than one bed-sharer.

    • The baby is younger than 11 to 14 weeks of age.


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Last Updated Date: 09/23/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 09/23/2013