Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

The state of Tennessee has created a program to help families reduce the risk of losing their babies to SIDS.  The goal of the SIDS program is to reduce the number of SIDS deaths in Tennessee, and to provide bereavement support for families who have experienced the sudden, unexpected death of an infant.  The Tennessee SIDS program is also dedicated to educating professionals, parents, community agencies, clergy, law enforcement personnel, emergency responders and all other interested persons who may encounter SIDS deaths throughout the state.

For Parents

  • SIDS affects babies of all races and income levels
  • SIDS affects babies who appear healthy
  • SIDS is not caused by choking or other minor illnesses (colds or infections)
  • SIDS is not caused by immunizations
  • SIDS is not contagious nor caused by abuse
  • SIDS is not the cause of all unexplained infant deaths

SIDS Prevention Tips

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep at night and at nap time. Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Babies should always sleep in a crib. The safest place for a baby is in the same room as the parents but alone in a separate sleep area.
  • Keep loose objects, soft toys, and bedding out of the baby's sleep area. Do not use pillows and blankets in a baby's sleeping area. A baby should sleep in a crib with only a tight fitting sheet.
  • Avoid letting your baby overheat during the night. A baby should be dressed lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Do not use crib bumpers. These do not reduce injuries and can cause suffocation.
  • Avoid smoking. Both maternal smoking during pregnancy and secondhand smoke after birth should be avoided.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended for at least the first six months of life. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

SIDS Prevention Resources

 SIDS Prevention Links to State and National Resources

 For free SIDS prevention materials go to:

 SIDS Research and Prevention Articles:

Accessing Services

For information on bereavement services in Tennessee go to:
Middle Tennessee State University
Support Services in Tennessee

For More Program Information:

Call: 615-741-7353