How Common Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) In Babies?

There are a lot of infant deaths recorded reported each year, with each having varying causes. Some causes of infant deaths include electrocution, choking, and of course, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as crib or cot death) is becoming more prominent among babies, thanks to the frequency at which it occurs.

The conditions that could allow for SIDS are also many, as most parents are not aware that babies could even die from SIDS while sleeping in their cots!

Considering how rampant this tends to happen, especially in babies less than one year of age, parents need to stay updated with all the knowledge they need.

This is all-important from the risk factors, ideal sleep environment, and sleep position for your baby.

There is a lot more to know about SIDS, especially if you are a parent with a child who is less than six months of age. Keep reading to find out more on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, so your baby does don’t fall victim to it.


What Is The Number 1 Cause of SIDS?


There is no “number 1 or leading cause of SIDS”. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can occur as a result of one or a combination of several risk factors.

Some of the risk factors of SIDS include:

  • Babies being born with low weight.
  • Sharing sleeping surfaces, such as the bed or couch, could lead to accidental suffocation of the infant.
  • Placing babies on their side or tummy during nap time. It is hard for babies to roll over.
  • Soft blankets or any other form of bedding that can ever and suffocate the baby.

How Common Is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a silent killer, as most parents have no idea when it occurs until the damage has been done. Worldwide, SIDS was responsible for the death of 15,000 infants, and SIDS is the third highest killer of babies.

In 2016, The American Academy of Pediatrics published a paper stating that about 3,500 infants die of SIDS annually. The report further highlighted the risk factors for cot death and the importance of safe sleep practices such as sleep position for babies.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported about 1.545 child deaths nationwide in 2014. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website has a lot of helpful information that parents would find relevant to SIDS and other issues concerning childcare.

Thankfully, the rates of SIDS have significantly dropped compared to 1999. In 2009, SIDS claimed the lives of 57 babies, compared to 106 in Illinois, which represents a 48% decrease. On a global scale, SIDS claimed the lives of 15,000 babies, down from 22,000 in 1999.

SIDS tends to be more common in developed countries due to the prone sleeping position, and maternal smoking are risk factors. In countries where parents put their baby to sleep using the prone position has recorded a 50% decline in the occurrence of SIDS.

What Are The Odds Of SIDS?


The odds of babies dying from SIDS have dropped significantly since the 1990s. The figures have gone from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 babies to 35.4 deaths per 100,000 births in 2017.

Here are more statistics about SIDS based on reporting from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health’s program:

  • Over 3 500 infants die suddenly annually.
  • For every 1,000 babies born, one dies from SIDS.
  • There are over 900 death of babies as a result of suffocation and strangulation in bed n 2019

Efforts such as the Back To Sleep Campaign launched in 1995 were launched in 1994. The Back To Sleep campaign aimed to remind guardians and parents of the importance of babies sleeping on their backs.

The Back To Sleep campaign has had tremendous success, with a 50% decline in SIDS rates nationwide. The Back To Sleep campaign now included the Safe To Sleep campaign that contains recommendations for the safety of babies and the decrease in SIDS.

You can find more details on the Back To Slep campaign can be found on the National Institute of Child And Human Development website.

Are There Any Warning Signs Of SIDS?

SIDS has no signs, and symptoms like a common disease would prompt you to hospitalize the patient. There is a reason why there is “sudden” in the name.

It occurs when you even least expect it, and it could be too late to salvage the situation in time.

What Age Are Babies Most At Risk For SIDS?

SIDS occurs mainly in children between one and six months of age, but children between two to four months old are the most affected.

Cases tend to rise during cold weather, and more male babies fall victim to SIDS than their female counterparts.

At What Age Can You Stop Worrying About SIDS?

The risk of SIDS decreases significantly after six months in babies. SIDS is rare after babies turn a year old to roll over and pick their sleeping positions.

Is SIDS Very Rare?

SIDS is rare, and after the age of six months, your fears of SIDS should begin to subside. If one baby out of 1,000 dies from SIDS, that means that 999 survived.

The overall survival rate per 1,000 or 100,000 babies delivered is exceptionally high compared to the deaths.

How Late Can SIDS Happen?

SIDS typically occurs mainly in babies below six months, although parents should be on alert throughout the first year of their baby’s life.

Can You Resuscitate A SIDS Baby?

SIDS has a zero percent chance of survival, so the possibility of resuscitation is almost zero to none. It would be better if you are educated about SIDS and take steps to prevent the occurrence of SIDS.

If you know the precautions to take to reduce the risk of SIDS, you should not have any cause to worry about resuscitation.

What Is The Percentage Of Babies That Die From SIDS?

Statistics from the CDC show that for every 1000 babies born every year, 1 dies from SIDS. This brings the percentage probability of death from SIDS in babies to 0.001%.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has made several efforts to educate parents on how the occurrences of SIDS in babies can be further reduced. AAP’s Sleeping recommendations like those listed below are crucial for parents and child guardians to note;

1. Do not place babies to sleep with their head facing down. Rather, let them sleep on a flat surface with their backs on the bed, and their heads facing up.

2. Avoid sleeping on the same bed with your baby. This could lead to accidental suffocation where the baby is deprived of oxygen.

3. Let the baby’s sleeping space be free of soft objects, especially blankets. Stuffed animals could also pose a danger to babies.

4. It is fine to swaddle your baby, but make sure the baby is on their back when you are swaddling them.

5. Try using a pacifier at sleeping times for your babies. Pacifiers should be used about three weeks after breastfeeding, and it is perfectly fine of your baby does not like the pacifier.

What Reduces The Risk of SIDS?

The risk of SIDS is high, especially in developed countries. Common risk factors for SIDS include sleeping position, maternal smoking, low birth weight, young maternal age, and premature babies.

Statistics have also shown that as high as 20% of infant death cases due to SIDS happen in daycare settings.

Here are some ways you can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS or crib death:

1. Adopt the proper sleeping position for your babies.


Place your baby to sleep in the supine position (lying flat on their backs with torso and face facing up) instead of the prone position.

The prone position has your back up and your face down, which is not the best way for babies to sleep.

Stomach sleeping does not allow your baby to breathe appropriately compared to lying on their backs. This is crucial to remember, considering that SIDS also occurs during sleep in babies.

Other instances that can increase your baby’s risk for SIDS include sleeping in a stroller, baby seat, car seat, or baby swing for an extended period.

Inform guardians who might not know about the dangers of letting babies sleep with their stomachs and face down. Be it a nanny, relative, or even grandparents, everyone taking care of the baby has to know this vital piece of information.

Your baby might develop the ability to roll over both ways at around six months, meaning they may not stay on their back. This is fine, as they can choose their sleeping position at this age.

2. Create a good sleep environment

Whether it’s a crib, a cot, or a bassinet, the sleeping area and sleep environment should be clear of suffocation hazards. Objects like loose blankets, crib bumpers, quilts, stuffed animals, and pillows increase the baby’s risk for SIDS.

Crib bumpers could lead to strangulation, entrapment, injuries, and even deaths. The only item that should be in the cot, crib, or bassinet is the fitted baby sheet. Consider getting the safest baby crib for your little one to be on the safer side.

To double-check how safe your baby’s crib, bassinet, or cot is, contact the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission via the channels below:

  • Website:
  • Phone number: 800-638-2772

3. Do not smoke when you’re around your baby

If you were a smoker before marriage, it would be an excellent idea to quit smoking during and after pregnancy.

Mothers who continued the habit of smoking during pregnancy are three times more likely to have babies who will die of SIDS than babies born by non-smoking mothers.

Smoking during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for SIDS. Just like humans, too, secondhand smoke can have detrimental effects on your baby’s health.

Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby, whether in the house or public areas.

4. Avoid products that claim to be able to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Steer clear of products that claim to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS. Most products that make such claims have not been proven or tested by any authorities and certified safe for use yet.

Cardiac monitors and electronic respirators have not been tested by any relevant bodies to substantiate such claims. Avoid them also.

5. Don’t allow your baby to get too hot.


Dressing your baby in extra-thick clothing may increase their body temperature and increase their risk of SIDS.

Let your baby sleep in light clothing, and keep the room temperature cool and airy enough. This will significantly reduce the risk of SIDS in your baby.

Dress your baby in a onesie that provides sufficient coverage for the baby’s feet, legs, hands, and arms.

There is also the choice of using a sleep sack, which is more like a blanket that can be worn. Babies tend to get tangled in regular blankets and pull the blankets over their faces, leading to suffocation.

6. Keep breast feeding for as long as possible.

Researchers are not sure why breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Some believe that certain compounds found in breast milk, e.g., colostrum, might prevent infections in babies that increase the risk of SIDS.

Experts have also warned against alcohol consumption if you breastfeed, as that could raise your baby’s risk of SIDS.

7. Keep your baby close while they sleep, but avoid co-sleeping with your baby.

Co-sleeping is when parents and children decide to sleep in the same bed, as this is said to foster an excellent child-parent relationship.

However, parents should not attempt this with infants, as there is a danger of rolling over or suffocating them unknowingly. Consider sleep training your baby so they’ll develop good sleep patterns and they would be able to sleep on their own.

If you happen to breast feed your child, be sure to place the child back into their cot, crib, or bassinet. If you feel exhausted, avoid breastfeeding on the couch, lest you fall asleep and suffocate your baby.


Consider getting a quality baby crib for your newborn. To monitor your infant’s breathing and other vitals, you may want to prioritize having a baby breathing monitor and also installing a smart baby monitor to constantly track your child even if you step away from them for a moment.

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