Welcome to North Shore Health Department North Shore Health Department Highlights 10/9/2018 Did you know? October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation. In 2016, there were 3,600 sudden infant deaths in the United States. There are ways to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Follow these tips: 1. Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—for naps and at night. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs. 2. Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet, covered only by a fitted sheet. Soft surfaces can increase the risk of sleep-related death. A firm sleep surface helps reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. 3. No bed sharing! Accidental suffocation, strangulation, and wedging (for example, being stuck between two objects such as a mattress and a wall) can happen when a baby is sleeping in an adult bed or other unsafe sleep surfaces. Room sharing is much safer than bed sharing and may decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. 4. Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. Soft objects and loose bedding, like stuffed toys, sheets, comforters, and blankets, can increase the risk of suffocation and other sleep-related deaths. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold while sleeping, you can dress her or him in sleep clothing (like a wearable blanket) to keep warm. 5. Do not allow smoking around your baby. Smoke in the baby’s surroundings is a major risk factor for SIDS. Quitting smoking can be hard, but it is one of the best ways parents and caregivers can protect their health and their baby’s health. 6. Alcohol and drug use is a risk factor for SIDS. Alcohol and drug use alters the way someone thinks and decreases parent’s arousal. This can cause parents to make decision about the babies sleeping position that are not safe. Missed the highlights? Click here to view previous highlights.