Join Atrium Health Navicent in Observing National SIDS Awareness Month
Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital invites the community to observe National SIDS Awareness Month during October by learning about how SIDS risk can be reduced.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexplained death of a child less than 1 year old that remains
unexplained after a complete investigation. These deaths often occur during sleep, or in the baby’s sleep area. SIDS is
one type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which also includes suffocation, entrapment, trauma and cardiac
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3,400 babies in the United States die each
year from SUID. Of these, more than 1 in 3 are attributable to SIDS. In 2020, there were about 1,389 deaths due to SIDS,
about 1,062 deaths due to unknown causes and about 905 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
In Georgia, for every 100,000 births, 127.9 infants die from sudden unexpected events including SIDS. That figure is well
above the U.S. average of 92.9.
According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS is the leading
cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
Although the cause of SIDS is unknown, there are ways to reduce your infant’s risk. According to the American Academy
of Pediatrics, all of the following decrease the risk of SIDS:
Infants should be placed on their backs to sleep until they reach 1 year of age. Side sleeping is not advised.
Babies should be placed on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress covered by a fitted sheet. No other soft
objects should be placed near the infant, to reduce risk of suffocation. It is recommended that infants sleep in their
parents’ bedroom, on a separate sleep surface, at least for the first six months, but ideally for the first year.
• Do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include sweating or their chest feeling hot.
• Feed your baby breastmilk. Babies who are breastfed or are fed expressed breastmilk are at lower risk for SIDS compared with babies who were never fed breastmilk.
• Mothers should not smoke during pregnancy or after a baby’s birth. Parents are encouraged to set strict rules
about smoke-free homes and cars to eliminate second-hand smoke exposure to infants. In addition, mothers
should not use alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.
Pregnant women should follow their doctor’s guidelines for frequency of prenatal visits. Babies whose mothers
obtained regular prenatal care are at a lower risk for SIDS.
Recent evidence suggests that vaccines may protect against SIDS. Infants should regularly receive well-baby
checkups and should get their shots on time as recommended by their doctor.
“Although SIDS cases have declined in the past three decades due to the adoption of safe sleep recommendations, a
baby’s risk of death from SIDS in the first year of life is still 20 times higher than the risk of death during the child’s next 17
Dr. Yameika Head, director of Clinical Practice – Pediatrics for Atrium Health Navicent Medical Group, who also serves on the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office’s Child Fatality Review panel. “While it’s recommended
that infants sleep in their parents’ bedroom, co-sleeping — an adult and a baby sharing a bed — is dangerous and
increases SIDS risk. It’s imperative that parents, guardians, daycare workers, babysitters and anyone else who provides
care for babies learns about the importance of safe sleep practices and protecting babies from second-hand smoke
exposure.” To find a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, and to learn about our children’s services, visit https://childrenshospitalnh.org.
About Atrium Health Navicent Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.