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Parents and Caregivers

Learn about grief resources and about actions parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths.

Grief Resources

The following organizations offer support for people who have lost a baby:

Reduce the Risk

Health care providers and researchers don’t know the exact causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, research shows parents and caregivers can take the following actions to help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths:

  • Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—for naps and at night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby. For help quitting, see How to Quit Smoking.

See Ways to Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Death from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to learn more about these and other actions.

Creating a Safe Sleep Environment

Learn more about safe sleep environments and reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths by reading the NICHD publication What does a safe sleep environment look like? [PDF – 320 KB]

CDC supports the 2016 recommendations issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These recommendations aim to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS. The updated guidelines emphasize that parents and other caregivers should be aware of how tired they are when feeding, comforting, or bonding with baby to avoid falling asleep while on unsafe sleep surfaces such as couches or adult beds. Learn more at the Healthy Children website sponsored by AAP.

CDC collaborates with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in its Safe to Sleep® campaign, formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign. The Safe to Sleep® campaign has outreach activities to spread safe sleep messages and educational materials about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths.

mother laying baby on back in crib

Additional Resources for Parents and Caregivers

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