Fast Facts About SIDS

  • 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 time when the baby is sleeping. Cribs themselves don't cause SIDS, but the baby's sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.
  • SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
  • About 1,360 babies died of SIDS in 2017, the last year for which such statistics are available.1
  • Most SIDS deaths happen in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths happen before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However, SIDS deaths can happen anytime during a baby's first year.2
  • Slightly more boys die of SIDS than girls.2
  • 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 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—2016)3

Chart depicting U.S. Rates of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death from 1990—2016, noting a decrease in SIDS-related and Total Sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) over these years.

  1. Kochanek, K.D., Murphy, S.L., Xu, J.Q., & Arias, E. (2019). Deaths: Final data for 2017. National Vital Statistics Reports, 68(9). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
  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 link .
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Mortality for 1979–1998 with ICD 9 codes; Mortality for 1999–2016 with ICD 10 codes. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed August 19, 2019 from