Sudden Unexplained Infant Death

Dedicated to reducing sudden unexpected infant death

Summary Overview

About 3,500 US infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. We often refer to these deaths as sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). Although the causes of death in many of these children can’t be explained, most occur while the infant is sleeping in an unsafe sleeping environment.


Types of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome:
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - the unexplainable sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age. About 1500 infants died of SIDS in 2013. SIDS is also the leading cause of death in infants 1 to 12 months old.
  • Unknown cause- the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age cannot be explained because a proper investigation was not conducted and the cause of death was not determined. 
  • Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed- Infants can suffocate from soft bedding, pillows or waterbed mattresses. Strangulation occurs when an infant is wedged between two objects (mattress and wall, bed frame or other furniture) or when an infant’s head is caught between crib railings. In addition, overlay or when another person rolls on top of or against the infant while sleeping is a cause of suffocation.

Spokane or Washington Specific Data


Health care professionals and researchers are unaware of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Parents and caregivers can take the following actions to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of deaths.

  • Always place infants on their backs to sleep.
  • Place your infant on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib that is covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Do not share an adult bed, couch or chair with your infant.
  • Do not allow soft objects such as pillows or loose bedding in your infant’s sleep area. Do not allow secondhand smoke near your baby. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Breastfeed as much and as long as you can.
  • Keep the room your baby sleeps in at a comfortable temperature.
  • Schedule and go to all well-child visits so your infant receives important immunizations.

​About 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year (CDC)

​About 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year (CDC)

Stay Close, Sleep Apart
Stay Close, Sleep Apart

This campaign is intended to educate and increase awareness in community on safe infant sleep practices, resulting in behavior change that contributes to less infant mortality.

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Communicable Disease Epidemiology for Healthcare Providers
Communicable Disease Epidemiology for Healthcare Providers

Working with providers on the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases, illnesses and other factors relating to health.

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