Fast Facts About SIDS

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
  • More than 2,000 babies died of SIDS in 2010, the last year for which such statistics are available.1
  • Most SIDS deaths occur when in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby's first year.2
  • SIDS is a sudden and silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who seems healthy.
  • SIDS is sometimes called "crib death" or "cot death" because it is associated with the timeframe when the baby is sleeping. Cribs themselves don't cause SIDS, but the baby's sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.
  • Slightly more boys die of SIDS than do girls.3
  • In the past, the number of SIDS deaths seemed to increase during the colder months of the year. But today, the numbers are more evenly spread throughout the calendar year.
  • SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994 in all racial and ethnic groups. Thousands of infant lives have been saved, but some ethnic groups are still at higher risk for SIDS.

U.S. Rates of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death (1990—2013)

A line graph showing the rates of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death from 1990 to 2013. The Y axis shows deaths per 1,000 births and ranges from 0 to 1.8. The X axis depicts the years 1990 through 2013. Total SUID deaths declined from ~1.5 in 1990 to 1 in 2013. Total SIDS deaths declined from ~1.3 in 1990 to ~0.5 in 2013. Deaths from unknown causes held steady between 1990 and 2013 at a rate of ~0.2. Deaths from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed rose from ~0 in 1990 to ~0.2 in 2013.

  1. Murphy, S. L., Xu, J., & Kochanek, K. D. (2013). Deaths: Final report for 2010. National Vital Statistics Report, vol. 61 no. 4. Retrieved November 11, , 2013, from (PDF - 3.12 MB).
  2. Trachtenberg, F. L., Haas, E. A., Kinney, H. C., Stanley, C., & Krous, H. F. (2012). Risk factor changes for sudden infant death syndrome after initiation of Back-to-Sleep campaign. Pediatrics, 129(4), 630-638. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1419. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from  .
  3. Trachtenberg, F. L., et al. (2012).