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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Program

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)?

SIDS is the sudden unexpected death of an infant, under one-year of age, with onset of the fatal episode apparently occurring during sleep that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, and review of the circumstances of death and the clinical history.

SUID is all unexpected deaths: those without a clear cause, such as SIDS, and those from a known cause, such as suffocation.  50% of all SUID deaths are SIDS.  Unsafe sleeping environments can lead to SUID, such as when a baby gets trapped between an adult bed mattress and the wall and is unable to breathe.

Since the Back to Sleep campaign was launched in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has dropped by 50%.  The Back to Sleep campaign has now been renamed to the "Safe To Sleep" campaign, as we now are seeing a rise in the amount of infants dying not only in their sleep but in unsafe sleeping situations such as bedsharing, sleeping on couches, sleeping in car seats, and sleeping with blankets and pillows.

Program Activities:

Assistance to families affected by SIDS and SUID

  • Public Health Nurses provide grief and bereavement support, resources, and linkages for families and caregivers.

Community Education to promote "Safe to Sleep" practices

  • Outreach to providers, childcare facilities, and community-based organizations including presentations related to SIDS and SUID Risk Reduction strategies and latest SIDS research.
  • Attendance at health fairs to raise community awareness of SIDS and SUID risk reduction strategies and distribution of educational materials.

How can the risk of SIDS be reduced?  "Safe to Sleep" practices include:

  1. Infants should be placed to sleep flat on their backs for every sleep (nightime and naptime).  Infants that sleep on their stomachs and sides have a higher risk of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
  2. Use a firm mattress in a baby crib or bassinet covered only by a fitted sheet.  There should be nothing else in the crib with the baby - no soft bedding, bumper pad, toys, pillows, and nothing underneath that baby to soften the mattress.
  3. Do not smoke during your pregnancy.  Do not expose babies to second-hand smoke after birth.
  4. Avoid overheating.  Over bundling should be avoided and the infant should not feel hot to the touch.
  5. Breastfeed infants (or feed expressed breast milk) for at least the first 6 months of life.
  6. Infant should sleep in their own crib/bassinet/playpen, and not in an adult bed.
  7. Place the infant's crib in the same room as the mother for night time sleeping.  Babies brought to an adult bed for breastfeeding should be returned to their own crib when breastfeeding is finished.

For more Information:

For questions, or more information about the City of Long Beach SIDS Program, contact us at (562) 570-4202.