What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the #1 cause of death among children under one year of age. First 5 Kern is dedicated to increasing awareness of this issue and the education of parents to the dangers with which it is associated.
The Safe Sleep Coalition is a group of hospitals, government agencies and non-profits whose mission is to educate the public on the dangers of SIDS and recognition of Safe Sleep practices. This page is intended to be a resource for parents, and First 5 Kern urges all parents to speak with their healthcare provider for more information.
Myths & Facts about SIDS?
Myth: Babies can “catch” SIDS.
Fact: A baby cannot catch SIDS. SIDS is not caused by an infection, so it can’t be caught or spread.
Myth: Cribs cause “crib death” or SIDS.
Fact: Cribs themselves do not cause SIDS. But features of the sleep environment—such as a soft sleep surface—can increase the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Find out more about what is a safe sleep environment for your baby.
Myth: Babies who sleep on their backs will choke if they spit up or vomit during sleep.
Fact: Babies automatically cough up or swallow fluid that they spit up or vomit—it’s a reflex to keep the airway clear. Studies show no increase in the number of deaths from choking among babies who sleep on their backs. In fact, babies who sleep on their backs might clear these fluids better because of the way the body is built.
Myth: SIDS can be prevented.
Fact: There is no known way to prevent SIDS, but there are effective ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Myth: Shots, vaccines, immunizations, and medicines cause SIDS.
Fact: Recent evidence suggests that shots for vaccines may have a protective effect against SIDS. All babies should see their health care providers regularly for well-baby checkups and should get their shots on time as recommended by their health care provider.
Myth: SIDS can occur in babies at any age.
Fact: Babies are at risk of SIDS only until they are 1 year old. Most SIDS deaths occur when babies are between 1 month and 4 months of age. SIDS is not a health concern for babies older than 1 year of age.
Myth: If parents sleep with their babies in the same bed, they will hear any problems and be able to prevent them from happening.
Fact: Because SIDS occurs with no warning or symptoms, it is unlikely that any adult will hear a problem and prevent SIDS from occurring. Sleeping with a baby in an adult bed increases the risk of suffocation and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
Sleeping with a baby in an adult bed is even more dangerous when:
- The adult smokes cigarettes or has consumed alcohol or medication that causes drowsiness.
- The baby shares a bed with other children.
- The sleep surface is a couch, sofa, waterbed, or armchair.
- There are pillows or blankets in the bed
- The baby is younger than 11 weeks to 14 weeks of age.
- The baby shares a bed with more than one person, especially if sleeping between two adults.
Instead of bed sharing, health care providers recommend room sharing—keeping baby’s sleep area separate from your sleep area in the same room where you sleep. Room sharing is known to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
**Myths/Facts courtesy of the National Institute of Health
Resources and Links
Below are some resources to help parents understand the dangers and protect their children.
- Air Mattresses are NOT for Infants
- CDC Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Charlie’s Kids Foundation – Educating families about SIDS and Safe Sleep
- CPSC Cautions about adult beds for babies | Spanish
- FAQs about Safe Sleep – National Institute of Health
- Top Tips for Baby Safety Month-English| Spanish
- Learn How to Put Your Baby to Sleep Safely
- Myths and Facts
- Playpens and Soft Bedding-Suffocation Risk-English| Spanish
- Safe Kids Worldwide
- Safe Sleep Environment Tool
- First 5 Kern flier for download
- Kern County Public Health Services flier for download
- National Institute for Child Health & Development
- Center for Disease Control flier
- CDC Fact Sheet
- What does a Safe Sleep environment look like?
- ¿Cuál es la apariencia de un ambiente seguro para dormir? (PDF)
Click on the links below for news features and articles about SIDS and Safe Sleep
Kern County rate of unexpected baby deaths doubles state average (KBAK Bakersfield)
Trust doctors’ advice, not fancy devices, to help infants sleep safely (The Reflector)
The ABCs of Safe Sleep can be hard to learn (American Association of Pediatricians)
Coroner says baby’s death ruled as SIDS (KGET Bakersfield)
Memorial Hospital gets national certification for sudden infant death awareness efforts (Bakersfield Californian)
Fisher-Price recalls 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play sleepers (USA Today)
Despite recalls, some day care centers still using inclined sleepers blamed in infant deaths (CBS News)
Safe Sleep Coalition of Kern members
The Safe Sleep Coalition of Kern includes the following agencies: