JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month continues, state and federal agencies seek to make infant safety a priority for families.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, sleep-related death is the third leading cause of death for Mississippi infants. Parents and caregivers can take steps to reduce the risk of these deaths. MSDH offers counseling, referral and training on the prevention of sleep-related deaths and helping those affected by SIDS and sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).
SUID is the death of an infant less than one year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious prior to investigation.
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation, which includes an autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the symptoms or illness the baby had before dying.
- Sleep-related deaths from SUID/SIDS are the third leading cause of death for Mississippi infants.
- Babies are more likely to die of SUID/SIDS when they sleep on their stomachs.
- About one in five SUID/SIDS deaths occur while an infant is being cared for by someone other than a parent.
- In 2021, 51 MS infants died from SUID/SIDs.
- According to the National Institutes of Health, 90% of SIDS deaths occur before six months of age. SIDS deaths peak between one month and four months of age.
How to reduce the risk of SUID/SIDS
According to the NIH, There are currently no products that can prevent SIDS, because there is no known way to prevent SIDS. However, certain actions can be done to reduce the risk of SUID, SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
Ensure that others caring for the infant (childcare providers, relatives, friends, and babysitters) follow the following recommendations:
- Place the infant completely on his or her back to sleep at night and for naps.
- Use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib. Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, crib bumpers, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects from the infant’s sleeping area.
- A baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair — alone, with a parent, or with anyone else — due to the danger of accidental suffocation.
- Do not allow an infant to get too hot during sleep. The infant should be lightly clothed and the bedroom temperature should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Use a sleep sack or similar sleepwear instead of blankets to help keep the baby warm and safe.
- Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, when you are finished.
- Do not smoke while pregnant or around your baby and never allow others to smoke around your infant. Get free help quitting smoking.
Special steps women can take
- Get regular health care during pregnancy.
- Never smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s guidance on your baby’s vaccinations and regular health checkups.
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
- Do not use home heart or breathing monitors.
- Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching.