Safe to Sleep Campaign Reduces SIDS Deaths

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Safe to Sleep campaign. The Safe to Sleep campaign began in 1994 as a way to bring public attention to SIDS and to educate parents and caregivers on ways to reduce SIDS risk.

Before the campaign:

  • Almost 5000 babies died each year from SIDS.
  • Only 17% of their babies were placed on their backs to to sleep


  • The overall SIDS rate in the United States has declined by 50% since 1994.
  • The rate of back sleeping among infants has increased by almost 300% since 1994.

You can reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death!

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night
  • Use a firm surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib covered by a fitted sheet
  • Practice room sharing – keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep
  • Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby
  • Breastfeed
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier not attached to a string for naps and at night
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep
  • Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching
  • Follow your health care provider’s guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups
  • Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death – these have not been tested for safety or effectiveness

To learn more about these tips and others, visit