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Infant Safe Sleep/SIDS


IKEA recalls Crib mattresses due to risk of entrapment



Sleep related infant death: Deaths that occur to babies while sleeping from causes such as accidental suffocation, strangulation and entrapment.

  • Suffocation - Smothering from soft bedding, blankets, pillows, crib bumpers or from overlay (when a person rolls onto a baby).
  • Strangulation - Suffocation from constricting a baby's airway. This can occur if a cord or piece of fabric becomes wrapped around a baby's neck.
  • Entrapment - A baby being trapped or wedged in a small space or between two objects
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - Also known as crib death, is the unexpected death of a seemingly healthy infant, up to one year of age, when no known cause of death can be determined.

While these are distinct causes for infant mortality, many of the risk factors and prevention strategies are the same.

Until 2012, SIDS was the leading cause of death for infants ages one month to one year. In North Carolina, from 2000-2009 there were an average 100 deaths a year attributed to SIDS. This number dropped by half in 2010 (53 SIDS deaths). There were 50 deaths in 2011 but only 28 in 2012 and 23 in 2013. However, there has been an increase in the number of deaths from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (11 in 2013) and undetermined infant sleep-related death (75 in 2013.)

Research has identified practices and behaviors that can put a baby at risk for both SIDS and infant sleep related death, including:

  • Tummy or side sleeping
  • Sleeping on a soft sleeping surface
  • Cluttered sleeping area (crib bumpers, pillows, fluffy blankets or stuffed animals in crib)
  • Sleeping with parents or anyone else
  • Not sleeping alone in a crib or bassinet
  • Overheating or excessive swaddling
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke or to mother smoking during pregnancy
  • Premature birth (baby born before 37 weeks gestation)
  • Low birthweight (baby born less than 2,500 grams or 5 lbs. 8 oz.)
  • Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Not breastfeeding or receiving human breast milk
  • Exposure to alcohol or illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth
  • Pregnant women not receiving regular prenatal care

Other Links

North Carolina

Opens in new windowNC State Center for Health Statistics - data collection, health-related research, production of reports, and maintenance of a comprehensive collection of health statistics in North Carolina.

National Organizations

Opens in new windowMarch of Dimes - Peristats - city, state, county and national maternal and infant health data.

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Last updated: January 2015

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More Info

Infant Safe Sleep Webisodes
Each webisode is a short video with detailed information to educate parents, caregivers and professionals about infant safe sleep.

My Carolina Today - Infant Safe Sleep Segments
(NBC-17) Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator, Marta Pirzadeh explains exactly what SIDS is and how to reduce the risk for your baby.

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