Position Statements

SIDS or Suffocation?

This is a common question asked by many professionals and community members.

In looking at the difference between SIDS and Suffocation, it is helpful to look at the Triple Risk Model.  This model has long been supported by SIDS researchers.

Other risk factors such as prematurity, low birthweight, maternal smoking during pregnancy, etc., would also lead to a baby coming into the world as a “vulnerable infant”.

In a SIDS situation, the vulnerable infant is not able to respond to an environmental challenge or “outside stressor” in the same way a non-vulnerable infant would.

In the situation of suffocation, the environmental risk factors were so numerous or strong that even a ‘non-vulnerable” baby would succumb to sudden death.

The important thing to remember is that the steps a parent/caregiver takes to reduce the risk of SIDS or to prevent suffocation are the SAME.  The ABCs of Safe Sleep are critical.  Babies need to sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib or Pack-n-Play.  If we add a “D”, this would be “Don’t Smoke” when pregnant or around a baby.

Infant Loss Resources Position Statement on Use of Baby Boxes