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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

The Mysterious Malady, Sids Research, Risk Factors, "back To Sleep" Campaign, Sids In History

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also called crib death, is the death without apparent organic cause of an infant under the age of one year. A diagnosis of SIDS can only be made after experts have investigated the death scene, autopsied the dead infant, reviewed the baby's medical history, and ruled out all other possible explanations. About 7,000 babies die of SIDS each year in the United States. This baffling disorder is the leading cause of death in infants ages 1-12 months. Although SIDS cannot be prevented completely, research has shown that parents can reduce the risk by putting their baby to sleep on its back (supine position) or side rather than on its stomach.

For unknown clinical reasons, in the United States, African American and Native American babies are up to three times more likely to die of SIDS than Caucasian infants. In all cases and groups, the majority of SIDS victims are male infants.

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