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Hayes Hitzeman Foundation
What is SIDS?


  • SIDS is the number one cause of death of infants under one year of age and strikes more than 2,100 families in the United States each year.
  • More babies die of SIDS in a year than all babies who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy combined.
  • SIDS is a diagnosis which is made only after a death and when all other possible causes of death have been ruled out by a complete investigation and autopsy.
  • There is no test that predicts which babies will die of SIDS
  • SIDS affects families of all races, religions, and income levels.
  • SIDS occurs during sleep, and strikes without warning.
  • SIDS victims appear to be healthy.

What Causes SIDS?

  • We do yet not know exactly how or why SIDS happens, though it appears that SIDS may be caused by some subtle developmental delay, an anatomical defect or functional failure.
  • Researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth have, in fact, isolated a neurochemical defect in a portion of the brain of SIDS victims that controls the infant's protective responses to changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
  • SIDS, like other medical disorders, may eventually have more than one explanation and more than one means of prevention. This may explain why the characteristics of SIDS babies seem so varied.

Following these guidelines may help reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Place your baby on the back to sleep at night and naptime
  • Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib
  • Eliminate fluffy, loose bedding from your baby's sleep area
  • Keep your baby's face clear of coverings
  • Be careful not to overheat your baby
  • Breastfeed if possible
  • Don't allow anyone to smoke around your baby
  • Consider offering your baby a pacifier at naptime and bed time for the first year (but not for the first month for breastfed babies)
  • Do not allow your baby to sleep in an adult bed
  • Consider using a fan in the baby’s room for air circulation
  • Tell anyone that may keep your baby about This Side UP
Hayes Hitzeman Foundation Supporting Research and Awareness of SIDS Hayes Hitzeman Foundation Supporting Research and Awareness of SIDS