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Sudden Infant Death

What is SUID?

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, or SUID, is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area.

About 3,600 babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly each year.

Sudden unexpected infant deaths include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes.

What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that cannot be explained even after a full investigation, including an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of clinical/medical history.

Fast Facts About SIDS

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.

  • Most SIDS deaths happen in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths happen before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However, SIDS deaths can happen anytime during a baby's first year.

  • Slightly more boys die of SIDS than girls.

  • SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994 in all racial and ethnic groups. 

SIDS is Not...

We don't yet know what causes SIDS, but we do know that SIDS is:

  • Not a death caused by entrapment, or strangulation.

  • Not suffocation and is not caused by suffocation.

  • Not caused by vaccines, immunizations, or shots.

  • Not contagious.

  • Not the result of neglect or child abuse.

  • Not caused by cribs.

  • Not caused by vomiting or choking.

  • Not completely preventable, but there are ways to reduce the risk.

SIDS Risk Factors

There is a lot we don't know about SIDS. We do know babies are at a higher risk of SIDS if they:

  • Are placed to sleep on their stomachs

  • Sleep on soft surfaces, such as an adult mattress, couch, or chair or under soft coverings

  • Sleep on or under soft or loose bedding

  • Get too hot during sleep

  • Are exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or in their environment, such as at home, in the car, in the bedroom, or other areas

  • Sleep in an adult bed with parents, other children, or pets.