Protect Your Baby from SIDS
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is raising awareness about SIDS and providing information on prevention strategies to protect infants and families in our community
SIDS is a tragic incident when a baby under the age of 1 dies suddenly without any known cause, even after a thorough investigation. These deaths usually occur during sleep or in the baby's sleeping area. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 1,389 SIDS-related deaths in 2020.
Creating a safe and cozy sleep space for your baby is easier than you think. To decrease the likelihood of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality related to sleep, you should:
- Place your baby on their back on a flat, firm surface to sleep.
- Remove all toys, pillows, blankets, and bumpers from the baby’s sleep area.
- Remember that while it is OK to swaddle a baby, it is important to stop once they begin rolling.
- Remember it is important to move the baby if they fall asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, or infant carrier as soon as possible.
- Give your baby a pacifier when they nap or during bedtime.
- Keep your baby's bassinet or crib in your bedroom for at least the first six months.
Bed-sharing typically refers to parents sleeping in the same bed as their baby. Bed-sharing with a baby can increase the risk of SIDS, particularly in preterm infants, babies with low birth weight, and healthy full-term infants younger than four months old. Other factors that can also increase the risk of death while bed-sharing include a baby sleeping alone or with a parent on a couch, a baby sleeping between two parents, a mother who smokes, parents who are overly tired, a parent who has recently used alcohol or drugs, bed-sharing with pillows or bedcovers, and bed-sharing with other children.
HCPH has established the Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) to provide better care for birthing persons and their children. The program aims to reduce health risks and empower families to lay the foundation for a healthy family. MCHP offers one-on-one in-home support for up to three years to ensure a healthy birth and family growth journey. Participants can also improve their well-being and self-sufficiency by enrolling in ACCESS Harris County, which provides a holistic care-coordination approach to eligible community members.
It's normal for infants to wake up often, which can be exhausting for parents. If you face any challenges with your baby's sleep patterns, don't hesitate to speak with your pediatrician for guidance and support.