SIDS Fact Sheet

Paula Pachon (Information Specialist; National SIDS Clearinghouse)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and unexpected death of apparently healthy babies, is the major cause of death of infants between the ages of 1 month and 1 year. In the United States, SIDS, sometimes referred to as crib or cot death, is responsible for the death of approximately 6,500 infants each year. It has been estimated that annually up to two deaths per 1,000 live births will be the result of SIDS.

SIDS deaths produce intense and traumatic reactions among surviving family members, as well as health care providers. Lifelong feelings of guilt, sibling emotional problems, divorce, and even, suicide are all too often the result of this tragic event. It is clear that there are multiple victims of this disease – the dead infant and the surviving family members.

Some Basic Facts About SIDS

  1. SIDS is a definite medical entity and is the major cause of death in infants after the first month of life.
  2. SIDS is at least as old as the Old Testament and seems to have occurred at least as frequently in the 16th and 19th centuries as it does now.
  3. The cause or causes for SIDS are not known.
  4. Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 SIDS deaths occur annually in the United States.
  5. SIDS occurs in all socioeconomic levels.
  6. Victims appear to be healthy prior to death.
  7. At this time SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented, even by a physician.
  8. There appears to be no suffering; death occurs very rapidly, usually during periods of sleep.

More Facts About SIDS

  1. SIDS is not caused by external suffocation.
  2. SIDS is not caused by vomiting and choking.
  3. SIDS is not contagious.
  4. SIDS does not cause pain or suffering to the infant.
  5. SIDS cannot be predicted.
  6. SIDS is not caused by external suffocation.
  7. SIDS is not caused by the type of feeding method used.
  8. SIDS is not caused by immunizations.
  9. SIDS is not caused by child abuse or neglect.
  10. SIDS is not cause by overheating.
  11. SIDS is not contagious; it is not an infectious disease process.
  12. SIDS is not caused by a lack of love.
  13. SIDS is not caused by a sleeping parent rolling over onto the baby.