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About SIDS

Taking Care of Your Baby
What you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS

Put your baby down to sleep on his or her back
One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS is to place your baby on his/her back to sleep. Health care providers now recommend that babies be placed on their back to sleep. Keep in mind that:

  • Babies that can turn from back to front on their own should not be forced to stay on their back.
  • Babies should be placed in a variety of positions while awake.
  • Some babies with health problems may need to sleep on their stomach. Speak to your doctor about your baby's sleep position.

Provide your baby with smokefree surroundings

  • Avoid smoking during your pregnancy. After your baby is born, provide a smokefree environment to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • SIDS is more common among those babies who are exposed to smoke from tobacco products.
  • Smoke is not good for your baby. Babies exposed to smoke have more colds and other illnesses.

Use the correct bedding for your baby

  • Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress or other firm surface. Make sure there are no ledges or gaps into which the baby could fall.
  • Do not place the baby to sleep on a waterbed, sheepskin, pillow, or any other soft materials.
  • Do not use fluffy blankets or comforters under the baby. Remove pillows, stuffed toys, and bumper pads from the crib of young babies.

Do not overdress your baby

  • Babies need to be kept warm, not hot. If the room temperature is right for you, it will be right for your baby. As a general rule, dress your baby with the same amount of clothing that you are wearing.
Visit your baby's doctor or nurse regularly
  • Your baby needs regular checkups and immunizations. If your baby seems sick, call your doctor or clinic right away.

Breastfeed your baby

  • Breastfeeding your baby is the best choice. Breastfed babies are healthier. Studies have shown that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of SIDS.

At the present time, there is no known way to predict or prevent a SIDS death. However, recent research has shown that these infant care practices have significantly reduced the risk of SIDS.

Produced by the California SIDS Program under funding by the California Department of Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Branch California SIDS Program - 5330 Primrose Drive, Suite 231 - Fair Oaks, CA 95628-3542 1-800-369-SIDS-Within California - (916) 536-0146 FAX (916) 536-0167 - Email:

Facts about SIDS Deaths In California
Additional SIDS resources
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