Protect Your Baby Against SIDS

SIDS is deadly and mysterious -- but you can fight back. Here's what your doctor didn't tell you about how to outsmart this killer.

Protect Your Baby Against SIDS

When it's time for your baby to sleep, do you set him down on his back? If so, you've taken a crucial step toward protecting his health and safety. That's because putting babies sunny-side up for naps and nighty-night helps protect them from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In fact, in the nine years since experts first began urging parents to put their newborns "back to sleep," the number of SIDS cases has fallen by more than half.

Still, this dreaded syndrome -- in which a child between 1 month and 1 year of age suddenly dies for no apparent reason, usually in her sleep -- remains an all-too-real threat. It's the leading killer of babies more than a month old, striking more than one in every 2,000 infants, according to statistics from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). And while certain groups of babies seem to be especially vulnerable -- SIDS strikes slightly more boys than girls, and two-and-a-half times more African-American babies than white ones -- the causes are still a mystery. Even experts can't predict which newborns will become victims.

But that doesn't mean parents are powerless against it. There are plenty of ways to protect your little one from SIDS, above and beyond tiptoeing into his nursery every night to watch each gentle rise and fall of his tiny chest (although you'll probably do that anyway). Parents interviewed leading experts and researchers around the country to get their lifesaving advice. Take these measures today, and you -- and your baby -- will sleep better tonight.

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