Genesee County Health Department
Better Life Through Better Health
Preventing Sudden Infant Death
Many people never hear about SIDS or crib death,
unless it happens to them or someone they know. SIDS
stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is the
sudden death of an infant under one year of age which
remains unexplained after a thorough investigation.
The investigation includes an autopsy, an examination
of where the baby died, and a review of the baby's
health history. More babies die of SIDS than of cystic
fibrosis, cancer, heart problems, pneumonia and AIDS
Deaths from SIDS happen to people of all races,
nationalities, and income levels. It is especially sad
and frustrating for parents because there is no known
cause for SIDS. Parents, grandparents and caregivers
of babies between the ages of one month and one year
should learn about SIDS. There are ways to reduce the
- Healthy babies should sleep on their back. For
babies with special health problems, talk about
sleep positions with your baby's
- Keep baby away from tobacco and marijuana smoke.
The risk of SIDS is higher for mothers who smoke
- A baby should sleep on a firm, flat mattress
with a tight fitted sheet. Sleeping on waterbeds,
couches, pillows, sheep skins or foam pads
increases the risk of SIDS.
- Babies should be kept warm, but not too warm.
Keep the baby's
room at a comfortable temperature (68-70 degrees).
Dress the baby in as little or as much clothing as
you are wearing.
- Mothers need to take good care of themselves
while they are pregnant. See a doctor as soon as
you know you are pregnant. Do not use alcohol,
tobacco or drugs while pregnant.
- If possible, give your baby a healthy start by