SIDS Risk-Reduction Frequently Asked Questions
Will a baby choke if she is placed on their back to sleep?
No. There is no evidence that healthy babies are more likely to experience serious or fatal choking episodes when they are placed on their backs to sleep. In fact, babies may actually clear secretions better placed on their backs.
If researchers do not know the cause of SIDS, how can doctors make risk reduction recommendations?
Researchers document and analyze the characteristics of and circumstances surrounding babies who have died of SIDS. As a result, doctors have documented certain “trends” or “characteristics” of SIDS babies. Doctors can then state that certain babies may be more likely to die of SIDS and recommend risk reduction measures to reduce the rate of SIDS deaths.
Are there any negative effects of placing babies on their backs to sleep?
No. However, it is important to place babies on their tummies during awake and/or play time to allow them to develop other muscles.
If I do not place my baby in a crib, is she/he still at risk for SIDS?
Yes, SIDS can happen anywhere, during a period of sleep. Babies placed in cribs are actually safer than if they are placed on other surfaces, such as an adult bed, a waterbed or a couch to sleep.
Is it okay if I or other family members sleep with my baby?
Again, a crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. If you are concerned about checking on your baby or just want your baby to sleep close to you, it is best to place him/her in a crib next to your bed to keep the baby safe. Sleeping with a baby on a couch or a waterbed is especially dangerous, as well as sleeping with a baby after drinking or taking drugs (even cold medicine) and/or allowing baby to share a bed with siblings.
Can babies be revived if they are found not breathing?
Many researchers and clinicians have a strong sense that the SIDS process, whatever it turns out to be, cannot be easily interrupted or stopped. However, it is important to always perform resuscitation efforts, because a SIDS diagnosis cannot be made at the time the baby is found not breathing. If a baby is revived, it is generally found that the baby temporarily stopped breathing due to recognized medical problems(i.e. apnea) or an Apparent Life Threatening Event (ALTE), an extended period of apnea.
Is there a relationship between SIDS and apnea?
Most researchers do not believe there is a strong relationship between SIDS and apnea or ALTEs (apparent life threatening events). As SIDS rates have fallen, ALTE rates have not. Studies linking the two are outdated.
Is there an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for subsequent siblings of babies who have died of SIDS?
Current research currently shows no sufficient risk of having a subsequent sibling die of SIDS. Any increased risk does not represent an inherited predisposition but may relate to environmental risk factors which may be modifiable. The great majority of parents go on to have other healthy children that do not die of SIDS.
Do DPT or other immunizations (shots) cause SIDS?
No. SIDS has been around much longer than DPT and other immunizations have been. Researchers have found no relationship between immunizations and SIDS. In fact some data support DPT shots as a protective factor to reduce the risk of SIDS.
How great is the risk of SIDS for babies whose mothers smoke or for babies living in smokers’ households?
The risk of SIDS death is 3 times higher for mothers who smoke while pregnant. After pregnancy, the risk rises depending on the number of smokers in the household and the number of cigarettes smoked by each person. Research suggest the risk of a SIDS death is at least 2 times higher for babies living in smokers’ households.