The single most important step to avoiding SIDS: making sure to always put your child down to sleep backside down, remembering the motto 'Back to Sleep.' Also called 'crib death,' SIDS is the unexplained death of an infant under one year of age. If you're breastfeeding and don't smoke, your baby is in the lowest risk group (though bottlefeeding alone is not a significantly increased risk). Other ways to reduce SIDS risk include using a firm mattress, keeping the room at about 72 degrees F; and forbidding smoking around your baby.
Overheating is also associated with SIDS. New parents are often concerned about keeping baby warm, but too many layers of clothing and blankets may actually make it harder to breathe. If baby's in warm clothes, no blanket is needed. If baby's in thin pajamas, a thin blanket is fine. Keep it tucked below baby's chest. As for swaddling, it's comforting for many infants, but once baby falls asleep, try to gently unwrap the receiving blanket or move it down below the baby's chest.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.