Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an apparently healthy baby under one year of age that remains unexplained after the performance of a complete postmortem investigation, including an autopsy, examination of the scene of death and review of the medical history.

As a result of the national Back to Sleep campaign launched in 1994 as a joint effort between CJ First Candle, the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS rates have declined by more than 50 percent.

Fast Facts:

  • SIDS is still the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age, claiming more than 2,200 lives each year.
  • While SIDS occurs in all socio-economic, racial and ethnic groups, African American and Native American babies are 2-3 times more likely to die of SIDS than Caucasian babies.
  • Most SIDS deaths occur when a baby is between two and four months; 90 percent of all SIDS deaths occur before 6 months.
  • Most babies that die of SIDS appear to be healthy prior to death.
  • 60 percent of SIDS victims are male; 40 percent are female.
  • Despite awareness campaigns promoting the back sleep position and other safe sleep practices, there continues to be more than 4,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) every year. Experts feel that as many as 80 – 90 percent of these deaths are the result of unsafe sleep practices such as bed sharing, use of soft bedding and stomach sleep position.
  • Other causes of SUID include: inherited metabolic disorders, genetic cardiac disorders, infection, and intentional suffocation.