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Reduce the Risk of SIDS with Safe Sleep Practices

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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age, with most deaths occurring between 1 and 4 months.

Research shows that there are some effective ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant deaths.

Hospitals can play a particularly vital role in providing early SIDS training to the parents of newborns.

UPMC Mercy has partnered with Cribs for Kids® — a national infant safe sleep initiative — to teach safe sleep at the hospital and in the community.

Through the program, UPMC Mercy teaches parents and caregivers the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) safe sleep guidelines for infants.

Creating a Safe Sleep Environment for Baby

All caregivers — parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, and childcare providers — should know how to help babies sleep safely.

Follow the AAP's guidelines to create a safe sleep environment and help lower the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death.

Always put babies to sleep on their backs.

  • It’s crucial to always place babies on their backs for naps and to sleep at night. This position carries the lowest risk of SIDS for all babies.
  • Do not place babies to sleep on their stomachs or sides.

Keep the b​aby’s sleep area clear.

  • Be sure to remove all soft objects, toys, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers.
  • Since loose bedding can cause suffocation and strangulation, a crib’s mattress should be firm and covered with a single, fitted sheet.
  • While the AAP guidelines suggest that babies sleep in the same room as parents, babies should not sleep in the parents’ bed.

Dress the baby in light sleep clothing.

  • A baby’s sleep clothing should not be too loose. Avoid anything that could ride up over the baby’s face.
  • Overheating also increases the risk of SIDS. To check if your baby is comfortable, place a finger at the back of the baby’s neck. The skin should not be too hot to the touch.
  • Remove excess clothing and make sure the room isn’t too warm if your baby is:
    • Sweating
    • Flushed
    • Breathing rapidly

UPMC Mercy is a Cribs for Kids Gold Certified National Safe Sleep Champion — its highest level of certification. As safe sleep champions, we're proactively working to reduce the number of sleep-related infant deaths in western Pa., which has one of the state’s highest SIDS rates.