The Science Of SIDS And Safe Infant Sleep

A female lab technician looking through a microscope.

Understanding SIDS and other causes of infant mortality has been a primary goal of the NICHD's mission since the Institute was founded in 1962. Passage of the SIDS Act in 1974 reaffirmed this directive, directing the NICHD to take the lead on SIDS research within the Public Health Service, and again in 1994 when the Institute and its partners started the Back to Sleep campaign (now the Safe to Sleep® campaign).

Visit the SIDS: NICHD Research Information on the Institute's website for more information about NICHD research on SIDS. Follow this link to search the PubMed database, which includes more than 20 million scientific articles and citations for PubMed Search Results for Keyword: "SIDS" and Grant Support: "NICHD".

NICHD research has led to significant advances in our understanding of SIDS. For example, the current definition of SIDS resulted from an Institute-led conference of experts in infant mortality. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS uses results from NICHD research as the basis for its safe sleep recommendations. Institute research informed the recommendation that the back sleep position carries the lowest risk of SIDS and that this sleep practice does not increase risks for other problems.

Although we still don't know the exact cause of SIDS or how to prevent it from happening, NICHD research has discovered a great deal about possible mechanisms and factors that might contribute to SIDS. Select a link to learn more.

Select a link on the left to learn more.