Children's Health Safety

SIDS: What you need to know

Rene Hopkins
Written by Rene Hopkins

About 4,000 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States. Approximately 1,500 of these are SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) related deaths while the rest fall under the category of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). The primary difference in SIDS & SUID is the related cause of death after an autopsy, examination of death scene & interviews.

There’s no established cause of SIDS. It’s called a “diagnosis of exclusion”, meaning that it’s the diagnosis given after everything else has been ruled out. Unlike SIDS, SUID related deaths are those that can be attributed to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment. Most are attributed to an unsafe sleep environment.

Although medical experts haven’t found a cause for SIDS, both SIDS and SUID related deaths can be decreased by following the ABCS is sleep safety for all infants under one year of age.

A – Always place your baby ALONE in his or her crib without toys, pillows, people or soft bedding.

B – Place baby on their BACK  to sleep, every nap and night time.

C – Place infant in a safe CRIB. Babies should never sleep in an adult bed, couch or other non-approved sleep area.

S – Never SMOKE around your baby!

Find out more infant sleep safety tips in the full column on our website.
Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide & USA network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit

About the author

Rene Hopkins

Rene Hopkins

A registered nurse educator, Rene Hopkins is responsible for establishing and maintaining childhood injury prevention programs through grant writing, research and data collection, community partnerships, education, legislation advocacy, and distribution of safety equipment. She coordinates more than a dozen monthly Safe Kids programs in the Greater Augusta area to educate parents and caregivers, including Safe Sitter, Car Seat Classes, Youth Firesetters Prevention Intervention, and Cribs for Kids.