Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) occurs among approximately 3,500 babies in the US each year. SUID, the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation, includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes. Although the SUID rate has declined since the 1990s, significant racial and ethnic differences continue. (1)
Definition: Unsafe sleep environments for infants can lead to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment (NICHD, Common SIDS and SUID Terms and Definitions). The sudden death of an infant under one year of age that does not have an immediately obvious cause is referred to as a Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Some cases of SUID are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a term which is applied when no cause of death can be determined even after rigorous investigation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention SUID/SIDS webpage).
Magnitude of the Problem: Around 3,500 infants die from SUID/SIDS every year in the U.S. (CDC).
- This is the leading cause of mortality among infants between one and twelve months (NICHD, Fast Facts About SIDS).
- It is the third leading cause of death among all infants (CDC).
- Most of these deaths occur between one and four months of age (NICHD, Fast Facts About SIDS).
- African American and American Indian/Alaska Native babies are more likely to die from SUID/SIDS than Caucasian, Asian American, or Hispanic babies (NICHD, Safe Sleep for Your Baby).
Prevention: It is possible to reduce the risk of SUID/SIDS. Some safe sleep tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org website include:
- Always place a baby to sleep on his or her back;
- Place a baby to sleep on a firm surface which is free of soft objects and loose bedding that could trap, strangle, or suffocate the baby;
- A baby should sleep in the same room as his or her parents, but not in the same bed;
- Babies should always have their own sleep space to reduce the risk of strangulation or suffocation;
- Do not place a baby to sleep on chairs or couches;
- Keep babies away from smoke and those who are smoking;
- Offer a baby a pacifier at bedtime and naptime; and
- Do not let a baby overheat.
American Academy of Pediatrics. How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Data and Statistics.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Common SIDS and SUID Terms and Definitions.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Fast Facts About SIDS.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death (General Outreach).
What is Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ([CDC], 2018), sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) refers to:
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is the leading cause of injury fatality for those under age one. This webinar shares examples of a national framework and a state campaign to prevent sleep-related infant deaths. The webinar will begin with information about the National Action Plan to Increase Safe Infant Sleep, a theory-based approach to changing the behaviors of families and other caregivers to implement safe sleep and breastfeeding.
The National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep (NAPPSS) is pleased to announce the official release of the National Action Plan to Increase Safe Infant Sleep.
Join NAPPSS for a webinar hosted by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau to learn how your work on promoting safe sleep practices and breastfeeding fits into this national framework.
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
An archive of this popular webinar on preventing infant suffocation death is now available on the CSN website.
The fourth webinar of CSN’s Community of Practice on integrating infant/child injury prevention into programs and services for expectant parents was held on Wednesday, January 30th). The webinar focused on best practices in educating expectant parents on safe sleep and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and explored how we can weave safe sleep practices into infant health development for greater retention, impact, and application of safe sleep practices.
This webinar, presented in September 2011, was a collaboration of HRSA and the Children’s Safety Network on infant suffocation deaths and the safe sleep environment. Presenters included Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Lena Camperlengo, Theresa (Teri) Covington, Michael Goodstein, and Judy Bannon.