SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

What is SIDS?

Modifiable Risk Factors

Sleeping baby

Although the side position is safer than the prone sleep position, the side position still carries a greater risk for SIDS than the back position.40 While it is unclear how sleep position affects the risk of SIDS, the issue of side sleeping is more complicated than infants who sleep on their sides simply rolling over onto their stomachs.

To continue the national decline in SIDS rates, it is important to sustain the BTS public health messages. When caregivers were surveyed in a 1994 to 1998 study,41 79 percent recalled recommendations for the back sleeping position from at least one of four sources: physicians, nurses, reading materials and television/radio.

Although respondents said that physicians had the greatest influence in their choice of infant sleep position, only 41 percent recalled that their physician had recommended back sleeping. The majority of caregivers who switched infants to the stomach sleep position recalled that the back sleeping position was recommended by only one of the four sources.

Caregivers who received recommendations from all four sources were six times more likely to place infants on their backs to sleep than those who had received only a single recommendation.42 These results show that sustained exposure from television and print media as well as consistent endorsement from health care professionals are both needed to prevent regression on the positive maternal and child health behaviors that have been achieved.