TEXAS – October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month. It’s commonly referred to as ‘SIDS.’ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 3,400 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) in the United States each year.
Although rates have declined in recent decades, it remains the number one cause of death for babies one month to one year. According to the March of Dimes:
- In Texas in 2019, the infant mortality rate due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was 31.0 per 100,000 live births.
- This accounted for 5.7% of all infant deaths in Texas in 2019.
What the doctors are saying
Baylor Scott and White Neonatologist Dr. Hevil Shah said though the exact cause of SIDS remains unknown, public health officials have been able to identify ways to reduce the risk in young children.
“It started in the mid-90s where the government really kind of pushed for babies to sleep on their backs. And if you look at the numbers, as soon as babies started sleeping on their backs, the number of SIDS cases went down dramatically. And so that there is some correlation that just having a baby sleep safely on their back is the key to all of this,” said Dr. Shah.
How to protect your baby
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the top four recommendations for reducing a baby’s risk of sids are:
- Having babies sleep on their backs
- Only using firm, flat sleeping surfaces like a crib
- Feeding babies human milk for their first six months
- Sharing a room with your baby for your first six months with the baby sleeping in their own crib or bassinet