NIH expands effort to prevent sleep-related infant deaths

September 19, 2012

Bethesda, MD – The National Institutes of Health recently expanded its campaign for reducing sudden infant death syndrome to include all sleep-related sudden unexpected infant deaths.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplainable death of a child younger than 1. Sudden unexpected infant deaths include SIDS deaths, as well as deaths due to accidental suffocation and entrapment.

The campaign, which was launched in 1994 with the name Back to Sleep – reflecting advice to put babies to bed on their back to reduce SIDS risk – has been renamed Safe to Sleep.

Safe practices encouraged by the campaign include placing infants to sleep in their own sleep environment without any soft bedding, such as blankets. The campaign also encourages breast-feeding when possible because the practice is associated with a reduced SIDS risk.

NIH released a fact sheet (.pdf file) on creating a safe baby sleep environment as part of the campaign.