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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the death of a baby who is younger than 1 year old without a known cause. Typically, a parent or other caregiver puts the baby—who seems healthy—down to sleep and returns later to find the baby has died.
No one is at fault when a baby dies of SIDS: it can be neither predicted nor completely prevented. A baby's death is not considered a case of SIDS when a specific cause is discovered, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. By definition, SIDS is considered the cause of a baby's death only when the death remains unexplained, even after a thorough investigation.
SIDS is also known as sudden infant death, unexplained (SIDU).
Placing babies on their backs when putting them down to sleep reduces the risk of SIDS.
Last Revised: May 16, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
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