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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) joins the National Institutes of Health in recognizing October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Safe Sleep Awareness Month, in creating awareness for parents and caregivers to take steps to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths. 

Every year, about 3,400 infants in the United States die from Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). Despite decreases in rates of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, SIDS still accounts for about 41% of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths, with infants of non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander ethnicities being disproportionately affected. Many infants are placed to sleep with bedding that has the potential for suffocation and increases the risk of SIDS. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated safe sleep recommendations in 2022:

  • Place infants on their backs to sleep in their own sleep space with no other people. 
  • Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress, and a fitted sheet. Avoid sleeping on a couch, armchair, or in a seating device, like a swing or car safety seat (except while riding in the car). 
  • Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space. 
  • Breastfeed, if possible.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and illicit drugs.

This year, in recognition of SIDS and Safe Sleep Awareness Month, the PHD’s WIC and MCAH (Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health) programs partnered with local hospitals to spread the message about safe sleep. As a result, all birthing hospitals will receive a Safe Sleep tote bag with education materials and other essentials for newborns and their parents. Birthing hospitals will also be provided reminders to continue to support and practice safe sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID.

More resources can be found at or the CDC’s Safe Sleep for Babies webpage. Families can also call the Santa Barbara County SIDS Coordinator at 800-288-8145 for more information.


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