Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

October 2008 note: a new study has found that sleeping in a room with a fan lowers a baby's risk of SID by 72% - see NY Times article

Pediatrician after SIDS Loss

Nov 2004

We lost our son to SIDS and we're expecting another baby. We imagine that we are going to freak with any cold, fever or cough that the baby might have. Because of that, we're looking for a sensitive doctor, caring and compassionate that will not feel disturbed because of ''nonsense'' calls. We would like some feedback from moms or dads that have been there. We live in Berkeley. Thanks. C.


  • Sarah Handlesman East Bay Pediatrics
  • Petra Landman Pediatric Medical Group

    SIDS Paranoia

    I am going crazy! My daughter (4 months old) can roll over now, and during the night she does...she's a very active sleeper. I'll go in and find that she has rolled onto her stomach. All positioning products like wedges say you can't use them once the baby can roll over. What more can I do? I flip her onto her back when I find her on her tummy, but I can't stand over her all night! The fear is making me miserable and I'm having trouble sleeping. I am very well informed about SIDS prevention, but none of the articles acknowledge the fact that babies can roll over! I talked with the advice nurse, and she said if I'm worried I might consider sleeping in the same room with her for the next few months....I tried that, and I can't sleep that way! Can anyone reassure me at all, or am I doomed to be obsessed with this until she starts walking? I appreciate your responses!
    My baby could roll over very early too. He would sleep in a position that seemed designed to induce suffocation -- in a tuck with his face pressed down into the corner where the mattress met the crib bumper. All I can say is I let him sleep the way he wanted, and he is alive and kicking. I did avoid using blankets and always tried to make sure the room was not overheated (two other SIDS factors), and I put him down on his back, but what he did after that was up to him. Oh yes -- and I worried constantly!! Fran
    For what its worth, my 17 month old child also started rolling over at about 4 months and I had many of the same fears of SIDS as you. When I asked our pediatrician if I should try to turn him over while he slept, he said something like If you put him to bed on his back, keep his sleeping space firm and free of toys and blankets, there's nothing more to do but relax. You can't stop the baby from developing. This advice was very reassuring to me and I let my fears go. Someone else (not a doctor) thought that babies strong enough to roll over might be more likely to be able to move themselves out of a physical situation that wasn't giving them enough oxygen. Scientific or not, that also reassured me. Mary
    My 10 week old rolled over twice and continued to try at night when we put her down in her crib...I put her in the wedge and found that she had rolled on her side (which is as far as she can go in the wedge) and slept comfortably like that through the night...she has since forgotten or lost interest in rolling over more at this time. I don't see why the wedge would be a problem but I do not speak as an authority on this by any means. Sharon
    I don't know the answer to your question, but on a feelings basis, my child is 14 months old and I still intensely worry about SIDS or other catastrophes. I don't know if it's just a normal worry or if I am sensitized to the issue because someone close to me died 2 years old. If your fear is making you miserable, it might be something to explore where that feeling is coming from and why it is so intense.
    Everything I have read leads me to believe that once a baby is able to roll over they have very little chance of dying from SIDS. Just keep all pillows, stuffed animals and quilts out of the crib. Gabrielle
    To the parent concerned about SIDS: Your concern sounds familiar. I was unable to sleep soundly for fear that SIDS would strike while I was sleeping. My solution was to bring my daughter into bed with me. I put her up between my and my husband's heads so that I didn't have to worry about rolling over on her. It gave me peace of mind and also facilitated night-time nursing. I believe I read that bringing your child into your room does not decrease the incidence of SIDS, but the study did not address having the child in bed with you. Of course, you must weigh this against the recent American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents not sleep with their infants because of smothering concerns. Soft mattresses, deep sleepers, lots of covers, and drug use (including alcohol and prescription drugs that induce drowsiness) contribute to a higher likelihood of rolling over on your child and not noticing. This was never a problem for a light sleeper like myself. It worked for me, but listen to what your inner voice is telling you. Having your child's crib adjacent to your bed might relieve some of your concerns as well. Good luck!