NH Department of Health Recognizes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Month and Warns Parents and Caregivers about Safety Precautions

Concord, NH – In timing with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

(SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released new

guidelines for parents and professionals to reduce the risk of

sleep-related infant deaths including SIDS. Putting babies to sleep on

their backs on a firm crib mattress for every sleep remains on the list of

safe sleep guidelines for infants.

Although the “Back to Sleep” campaign, which began in 1994, cut the number

of SIDS deaths almost in half, it is still a problem. Also, infant deaths

from accidental suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment in the bed

setting have increased. Such deaths include suffocation from soft bedding,

pillows, or soft toys; an adult rolling on top of or against a baby while

sleeping on a couch or in a recliner chair or adult bed; being trapped

between a mattress and a wall, bed frame, or furniture; and getting the

head or neck caught between crib railings.

“SIDS is a tragic problem defined as the sudden, unexplained death of a

child under age 1,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at the

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. “While we may not

know the exact cause of SIDS, there are certainly steps that can be taken

to reduce the risk of SIDS and of other deaths from an unsafe sleep


The new AAP guidelines build on recommendations that came out years ago by

adding three new messages:

Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization

reduces the risk of SIDS by 50%.

Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that

bumper pads prevent injuries and there is a potential risk of

suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment.

Other important recommendations in the guidelines include:

Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.

Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices

are not recommended for routine sleep.

The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the

same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).

Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes

pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.

Wedges and positioners should not be used.

Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.

Do not smoke during pregnancy or after birth.

Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

Avoid covering the infant’s head and prevent overheating.

Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the

risk of SIDS.

Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate

development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly

(flat heads).

“These are easy things,” said Dr. Montero, “that we can do to prevent more

babies from dying. In New Hampshire, 20–30 infants die suddenly and

unexpectedly each year, and up to half of those deaths are due to SIDS. We

need to pay attention to these new guidelines, and make sure that the

message is heard by everyone who is pregnant or cares for an infant.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to be careful

about baby products that claim to help prevent Sudden Infant Death

Syndrome. No such product is known to actually prevent SIDS, despite

advertising claims to the contrary.

For more information on the new guidelines, see the American Academy of

Pediatrics’ parent information website at www.aaphealthychildren.org  For

more information about SIDS, visit the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/SIDS/index.htm  For more about the FDA

warning, go to www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm275847.htm