Enterprise Community Healthy Start

Safe to Sleep Information

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than one year of age that does not have a known cause after a complete investigation (complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history).
Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID): Death of an infant less than one year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. After a full investigation, these deaths may be diagnosed as suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestions, metabolic diseases, cardiac arrhythmias, trauma (accidental or non-accidental), or SIDS.

In some cases—where the evidence is not clear or not enough information is available—the death is considered to be of an undetermined cause.

Georgia Sleep Related Death Facts

As of 2015, Georgia averaged

3 infant deaths per week due to sleep-related causes.

The majority of these deaths were preventable.

Risk Factors

Risk factors may not be the cause of infant death but can provide a clue to the cause

1. Babies who sleep on their stomach (greatest risk)

2. Smoking by the mother and others in the home

3. Cribs with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads

4. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their mother (and others)


The following Safe Sleep  prevention recommendations include guidelines that may help prevent obstacles that stop a baby's breathing.

  • Place baby on its back on a firm tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft products from the crib, playpen, or portable crib.
  • Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing as an alternative to blankets, with no other covering.
  • If using a blanket, put baby with feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby's chest.
  • Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep.
  • Do not place baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface to sleep. Some playpens and portable cribs may have soft mattresses.

If your baby spits up while sleeping on its back, it has the ability to cough and turn its head to prevent choking. If your baby is sleeping on its tummy and spits up, it cannot turn its head to prevent choking. At such a young age, its head is still very heavy and gravity pulls its head downward, preventing it from lifting its head.

When considering the overall number of live births each year, Sleep Related Deaths remain the leading cause of death in the United States among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age and is second only to congenital anomalies as the leading overall cause of death for all infants less than 1 year of age.

Other information available on CDC website, information about infant mortality; American Academy of Pediatrics, GA Department of Public Health Safe to Sleep Initiative