Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant who is younger than one year. In the United States, SIDS is the major cause of death in infants from one month to one year of age. SIDS happens to families of all social, ethnic and economic groups. Although the rate of SIDS has notably decreased in recent years, other causes of sleep-related infant deaths including suffocation, asphyxia and entrapment have increased.
On this page you will find information and resources on what parents, caregivers and health professionals can do to promote safe sleep environments. We encourage you to explore the many national and local resources available, discover an array of risk reduction/safe sleep materials, and learn more about safe sleep.
Safe Sleep Guidelines:
Although it is not always possible to prevent unexplained infant death (SIDS), it is possible to prevent unexpected death due to unsafe sleeping environment and practices. Parents and caregivers can reduce the risks of this tragedy by knowing and following the Guidelines of safe sleep published by the American Academy of Pediatrics updated in 2016.
- Always place infants on their backs to sleep for every sleep.
- Use a firm sleep surface for infants. A firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet is the recommended sleeping surface.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib.
- Keep your baby's sleep area separate but in the same room where you are sleeping.
- Do not let a baby get too hot or cover the infant's head when sleeping.
- Do not allow smoking around a baby.
- Breastfeeding is recommended and is protective against SIDS.
- Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
- Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
- Avoid alcohol and the use of illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth.
- Infants should have immunizations and regular check-ups.
- Home monitors and devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS should not be used.
- Provide supervised "Tummy Time" when infants are awake.
Orange County Resources
For more information on Safe Sleep efforts in Orange County, contact the Orange County MCAH Program at (714) 567-6234.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Program provides home visit follow-ups with assessment, information, counseling and referral to all families, child care providers and foster parents who experience a SIDS death. The program also provides data, consultation and training related to SIDS.
Orange County residents can contact the SIDS Coordinator at:
1725 W. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA, 92701
Page updated: 11/17/2020