Sudden Infant Death Syndrome | UC Davis Childrens's Hospital

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

SIDS definition: the sudden, unexplained death of an infant under the age of one.


Modifiable Infant Risk Factors for SIDS:

  • Exposure to second hand smoke

Non-modifiable Infant Health Disparities:

  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Family History of SIDS
  • Babies between two and three months of age
  • Males
  • African Americans
  • Native Americans

Babies with the above risk factors/disparities are at an increased risk of SIDS compared to other infants.

Modifiable Maternal Risk Factors for SIDS:

  • Limited or no prenatal care
  • Maternal drug, alcohol, and/or cigarette use

Non-modifiable Maternal Health Disparities:

  • Younger than the age of 20

Babies whose mothers have the above risk factors/disparities are at an increased risk of SIDS compared to other infants.

When unsafe sleeping conditions are added to the above risk factors/disparities, your baby's risk for SIDS is heightened.


  • American SIDS Institute. (2017). Retrieved from
  • Caraballo, M., Shimasaki, S., Johnston, K., Tung, G., Albright, K., & Halbower, A. C. (2016). Knowledge, attitudes, and risk for sudden unexpected infant death in children of adolescent mothers: A qualitative study. Journal of Pediatrics, 174, 78-83. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.03.031
  • Hauck, F. R., Tanabe, K. O., McMurry, T., & Moon, R. Y. (2015). Evaluation of bedtime basics for babies: A national crib distribution program to reduce the risk of sleep-related sudden infant deaths. J Community Health, 40(3), 457-463. doi:10.1007/s10900-014-9957-0
  • Mayo Clinic. (2016, October 28). Sudden infant death syndrome. Retrieved from
  • National Sleep Foundation. (2016). Sudden infant death syndrome and sleep. Retrieved from
  • Salm Ward, T., & Ngui, E. M. (2015). Factors associated with bed-sharing for african american and white mothers in wisconsin. Maternal Child Health Journal, 19(4), 720-732. doi:10.1007/s10995-014-1545-5