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Can sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) be prevented?

Unfortunately, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cannot be totally prevented, however, there are factors that help prevent it. These include adopting a safe sleeping position that can reduce the chances of SIDS. The safest sleep position is: on the back (for short naps as well as longer sleep periods), in a smoke-free environment, alone in the bed/cot, on a firm surface, with baby's feet at or near the foot of the bed, and with no other objects in the bed. Evidence also suggests that the following behaviors may help protect against SIDS and reduce the chances of it happening: room sharing - the infant sleeping in a cot next to parents for the first 6 to 12 months of life, breastfeeding, and offering a dummy (pacifier) before sleep. Note that forcing the dummy on a baby who does not want it is not recommended.

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About this article

Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 24 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 1155 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)


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