Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is typically defined as an unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby under a year old. Each year, about 2,500 children in the United States die from SIDS.

Since the introduction of the Safe to Sleep campaign, formerly the Back-to-Sleep campaign, the rate of SIDS has decreased by 50%, but health disparities still remain. African American babies have a 2-3 times greater risk of dying from SIDS as white babies. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ohio ranks 45th overall and has one of the highest rates of infant death for African American mothers.

Although the cause of SIDS is unknown, researchers have discovered some factors that may put babies at extra risk. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development offers these tips to reduce your baby’s risks:

Positioning: Babies should always sleep on their back at night and during naps.

Cribs: Babies should always sleep in their own crib with a firm mattress. Keep cribs clear of blankets, stuffed animals, or anything else that could potentially suffocate the baby.

Bed Sharing: Sharing a bed with your newborn is not recommended. Sleeping with a baby in an adult bed increases the risk of suffocation and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Room Sharing: The Safe to Sleep Campaign recommends room-sharing for babies from birth to 6 months. The baby should still sleep in their own crib, and not be co-sleeping with a parent or caregiver.

Talk to your NHA pediatrician or primary care provider about your SIDS concerns. To schedule an appointment, please call 419.255.7883. Learn more about the Safe to Sleep initiative and SIDS.