Have you ever heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? If not or you want to learn more, this blog is for you!

What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden unexpected death of a baby between 1 month and 1 year of age that does not have a known cause, even after a full investigation.

Other accidental causes of infant death usually happen as a baby sleeps. These can include:

  • Suffocation: when something (such as a pillow) or someone covers a baby’s face and nose, blocking the ability to breathe. It only takes 5 minutes with 5 pounds of weight for a baby to suffocate.
  • Entrapment: when a baby gets trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and a wall, and can’t breathe.
  • Strangulation: when something presses on or wraps around a baby’s neck, blocking the baby’s airway.

Facts about SIDS:

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies 1 month to 1 year of age.
  • Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between 1 month and 4 months of age.
  • In North Idaho, there were 3 SIDS related deaths in May, 2020 alone compared to only 1 SIDS related death in all of 2019.

ABCs of Safe Sleep

Remember these ABCs to help lower a baby’s risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death:

Alone in a safe sleep environment

The danger of toys, bumpers, blankets, couches, and an adult bed are that a baby’s chin goes to the chest and cuts off the baby’s airway.  

Back to sleep

Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night.

Crib, cradle, or pack & play

Place a baby on a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, cradle, or pack & play covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleep area.

Smoke free air

An infant death from SIDS is two to three times more likely if a baby’s mother smoked while pregnant, or if a baby lives in a smoke filled environment.


At Palouse Care Network, we offer a class that includes more details on the ABCs of Safe Sleep. To find out more or to register, call 208-882-2370.


Additional Safe Sleep Resources:

https://safestartnw.org/ (class registration is free and is live online via Zoom)

https://safestartnw.org/video-library/ (videos, including Safe Sleep 101)