SIDS: The Facts
As a new parent, it's vital that you know the facts on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Though doctors aren't entirely sure of its cause, SIDS is thought to occur when a baby doesn't get enough oxygen while sleeping and suffocates, usually in the first year of life.
The theory is that the baby "rebreathes" her own breath because of too much bedding surrounding her nose and mouth. Therefore, she breathes carbon dioxide instead of air and is robbed of oxygen. Other research has shown a link between sleeping in a hot room and SIDS.
Fortunately, there's a lot that parents can do to help prevent it, and the steps are very simple. Keep baby's room on the cool side to be safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends clearing baby's crib of blankets, stuffed toys, and pillows, and -- most important -- always placing baby on her back when she's ready to go to sleep.
Since these recommendations were developed, there's been an 80 percent reduction in SIDS cases.