Each year, more than 3,000 U.S. infants die suddenly and unexpectedly. Many of these deaths occur in an unsafe sleep environment.

A sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is the death of an infant, younger than age 1, that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious before investigation.

Doctors and researchers don't know the exact cause of SUID deaths. However, research shows that parents and caregivers can take the following actions to help reduce the risk:

  • Always place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep for naps and at night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Share your room with your baby, 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 bumper pads, pillows, and loose bedding, out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby because these are strong risk factors for SUIDs.