Written by Liza John  

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the unexpected death of an infant with no prior warnings or symptoms. It is often referred to as Cot death or crib death, as infants often die in their cribs.  

The exact reason behind SIDS is yet unknown. Hence, parents who know about SIDS, consider it as their worst nightmare. Research suggests that SIDS might be linked to improper development in the part of the brain that deals with arousal from sleep and controls breathing.   

Studies indicate that certain factors might increase the risks of SIDS and have also been able to identify methods to protect your bundle of joy from it.   

Factors Associated With SIDS: 

Brain Defects  

As aforementioned, some babies are born with problems that make them more likely to contract SIDS. What is mostly seen is that the portion of the brain that deals with breathing and controls arousal from sleep is underdeveloped.   

Low Birth Weight  

Premature birth can increase the chances of an underdeveloped brain, thus babies with low birth weights may have less control over their breathing.   

Respiratory Infection  

Many infants who died due to SIDS reportedly had a cold and or other respiratory issues.  

Preventing SIDS – Experts suggest that these tips might help reduce the chances of SIDS:  

Sleeping Positions  

Take care to ensure that your baby sleeps on their backs, rather than stomach or side, every time during the first year. Others may not place your baby in the correct position, so tell them. Premature babies should be put on their backs to sleep as soon as possible after birth.  

Once the baby is old enough to roll over by themselves, then you don’t have to worry about their sleeping positions.   

Safety in The Crib  

Don’t let the baby’s head be covered, so prevent putting soft toys, quilts, wedges, bedding rolls, pillows, or other soft materials in the crib. Prevent the baby from wriggling around by placing their feet at the end of the crib or cot.   

Place the baby on a firm, flat and waterproof baby mattress. Tuck their covers in under their arms to prevent it from slipping over their heads.   


Breastfeeding is beneficial to both the mother and baby. Experts suggest that babies who are breastfed are at a lower risk of SIDS than babies who were not breastfed. Breastfeeding exclusively for longer durations have been linked to lowered risks of SIDS. Be sure to put your baby back in the crib or separate sleeping area after feeding.  

Don’t Let Your Baby Overheat or Be Cold  

Overheating can lead to a higher chance of SIDS. Overheating can be due to too much bedding, clothing or because the room is too hot.  

Check if your baby is overheating from time to time. If you feel they are heating up, remove some bedding or clothing. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature of around 16 to 20 degrees. Ensure that your baby doesn’t sleep near a heat radiator, heater, or fire, or directly in sunshine.   

Don’t Share a Bed with Your Baby  

Adult beds aren’t safe for your baby. The baby can suffocate if a parent accidentally rolls over in their sleep, covering the baby’s nose and mouth.   

Try to set up the crib or sleeping area in your room with you. This separate sleeping area reduces chances of suffocation or strangulation as well.   

You might think it’s a cute idea to take a nap or cuddle with your baby on the armchair or couch. However, this might lead to a higher risk of SIDS. It is safer to put your baby back into their cot before you go to sleep.   

Don’t Let Anyone Smoke Around the Baby  

Smoking during pregnancy can increase chances of premature birth, low birth weight, and can damage the developing organs, thus increasing the chances of contracting SIDS.   

Don’t smoke in the house and don’t let others smoke in the house. Do not share the bed with your baby especially after you smoke. Avoid taking the baby to common smoking spots.  

Final Thoughts  

There is no sure shot way to prevent SIDS, however these tips can help you lower the risks. Follow up with your health care provider on the baby’s vaccination and check-ups regularly.