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What Is SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) and what is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)?

SUID is the sudden and unexpected death of an infant when the manner and cause of death are not clear right away, prior to an investigation. Accidental suffocation is an example of a sudden unexpected infant death.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under age 1 that cannot be explained after a full investigation has been done, including a complete autopsy, a death scene exam, and a review of the medical history.
  • SIDS is also called "crib death;" however, cribs do not cause SIDS.
  • In Louisiana, about 80 babies per year die of SIDS.
  • SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies 1 to 12 months of age.
  • The causes of SIDS are unknown, but you can reduce the risk of SIDS.

SIDS Risk Factors
  • Sleep position: Always place a healthy baby on their back unless a doctor gives you other advice. Babies placed to sleep on their tummies or sides are at higher risk of SIDS than babies placed on their backs.
  • Smoking: Don't let anyone smoke around your baby. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Bedding: Sleeping on pillows, soft surfaces and soft bedding are tied to higher risk of both SIDS and suffocation.

Other potential risks include:
  • Baby born weighing less than 5½ lbs
  • Baby born too soon (premature-less than 37 weeks)
  • Baby overheating during sleep
  • Mother smoking during pregnancy

Many of the sudden unexpected infant deaths, including SIDS and suffocation, are related to unsafe sleep practices.

How To Create A Safe Sleep Area
You want the best for your baby, to make sure he/she's comfortable and happy. But a lot of the things that you think might make for a better night's sleep — pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, extra clothes, etc. — can increase your baby's risk of suffocation and SIDS.

Use our interactive "Baby's Safe Sleep Room" game to test your awareness of what makes a safe sleep area.

Safe Sleep Checklist
  • Place your baby to sleep on his/her back not on the tummy or side.
  • Do not share the bed with a baby. Do not fall asleep with a baby in an adult bed or on a sofa. Bring them in bed to breastfeed and bond, but when it's time to fall asleep, place them in a separate, safe sleep space.
  • For sleep, use a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet. Play yard style cribs (pack-n plays) are also a good choice.
  • No comforters, pillows, loose blankets or quilts in the sleep area (crib).
  • Use a wearable blanket (sleep sack) or other type sleeper to keep the baby warm AND safe during sleep.
  • Take care not to overheat your baby. Dress your baby in light clothing. Do not keep the room too warm. Keep the temperature at what would be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • No bumper pads, toys, or stuffed animals in the sleep area (crib).
  • Do not place babies to sleep on soft surfaces such as adult beds, waterbeds, sofas, chairs, quilts.
  • Use a pacifier at naptime and nighttime for the first year.

Other things to do to reduce risk of SIDS:
  • Breastfeed your baby. It has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant and do not let anyone smoke around your baby.

Tell everyone you know who cares for babies about these important safety tips.

Potential Sleep Environment Dangers
  • Overlay – A person sharing a sleep surface with an infant rolls on to the infant and accidently smothers the infant or compresses the infant’s chest, neck, face, or body so that the infant is not able to breathe.
  • Positional asphyxia – Infant's face becomes trapped or wedged in a small space, or between two objects (mattress and the wall, mattress and the bed railings, or two sofa cushions).
  • Obstruction of the infant's nose and mouth – Loose bedding, heavy/bulky blankets, stuffed animals, position wedges, bumper pads, or soft sleep surfaces, such as air mattresses, waterbeds, couches, futons, and/or comforters can also result in accidental suffocation by covering an infant’s nose or mouth.

  • Suffocation is one of the leading causes of death among infants.
  • In Louisiana, roughly 80 infants die of SIDS every year. Don’t add to that statistic. Keep Louisiana babies safe from SIDS.