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Reducing Sudden Infant Death with "Back to Sleep"

​​​​​​​​​Problem

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also re- ferred to as “crib death,” occurs without warning and is associated with a sleep period. A diagnosis of SIDS is given when no expla- nation can found for the baby’s death after a complete postmortem investigation. SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. In 1993 alone, nearly 4,700 U.S. infants died from SIDS.

Discovery

Research found that if infants were placed to sleep on their stomachs, their risk of dying from SIDS increased by at least two-fold.

Outcome

As a result, the “Back-to-Sleep” Campaign was initiated in 1994 by a collaboration between the National Institute of Child Health and Development, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration and SIDS groups.

The focus of the campaign was to en- courage parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs in order to reduce the risk of SIDS. The AAP Task Force on SIDS published a policy statement in 2005 encouraging the practice of “Back-to-Sleep” for all infants.

Research showed that between 1993 and 2010 the percent of infants placed to sleep on their backs increased from 17% to 73%. Following the initiation of the “Back-to-Sleep” campaign, the number of infants dying from SIDS has decreased to 2,063 per year as of 2010.

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