How much do you really know about SIDS?

HEALTH

Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

When a baby dies suddenly and authorities can't find a reason for the death, the loss is often blamed on SIDS -- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Just hearing these words is enough to send a shiver down the spine of every parent, but it may ease your mind to know that there are real steps you can take to reduce your baby's risk. Take our quiz to see how much you really know about the causes, theories and stats on SIDS.

What is the safest way for babies to sleep?

Placing a baby to sleep on his or her back is one of the best things you can do to reduce the baby's risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics manages a campaign called "Back to Sleep" to remind parents and caregivers that babies should always be placed on their back in a crib, and never face down.

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What should you do if your baby rolls over to their stomach while sleeping?

While you should always put a baby to sleep on their back, some babies will eventually start to roll over onto their belly or side. Once a baby can roll on their own, it's OK to leave them that way, and there's no need to keep repositioning them onto their back all night -- but you should still put them on their back when you first put them down.

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Which of these should you use in your crib to protect your baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents not to use either a sleep positioner or a crib bumper. Both are more likely to harm your baby than to protect them, and crib bumpers in particular are a serious suffocation hazard.

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Which of these should you give your baby in the crib to keep them comfortable?

Nothing goes into a crib except for a baby. Children under one year of age are at a serious risk of suffocation or SIDS if a stuffed animal or pillow is used in the crib.

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What's the safest way to keep your baby warm at night?

Blankets don't belong in cribs, as they could cause the baby to suffocate. Instead, use a swaddle or sleep sack to wrap your baby up safely and keep them warm and comfortable.

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Where should your baby sleep?

The safest place for babies to sleep is in the same room as their parents, but in their own crib. Sharing a bed with Mom and Dad puts baby at risk for SIDS or suffocation.

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Which of these can reduce the risk of SIDS?

Doctors aren't 100 percent sure why it helps, but there is evidence that giving a baby a pacifier can reduce the risk of SIDS. Put the pacifier in the baby's mouth when you put him to bed, but don't worry about replacing it over and over again if it falls out during the night.

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Which of these increases the risk of SIDS?

Any exposure to cigarette smoke, even if you don't actually smoke around the baby, is linked to an increased risk of SIDS. Protect your baby by banning smoking in your home, and come up with a plan for both parents to quit smoking to keep your child as safe as possible.

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How do vaccines affect SIDS risk?

Turns out, getting your children vaccinated does more than protect them from disease; it also reduces their risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

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What should a baby sleep on?

Soft mattresses or bedding pose suffocation or SIDS risk. Protect your child by placing them on a firm mattress topped with only a well-fitted sheet.

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How much does sleeping on the stomach or side increase SIDS risk, compared to sleeping on the back?

Placing a baby on their stomach or side to sleep doubles their risk of SIDS compared to placing them to sleep on their back. There's simply no better way to prevent SIDS, based on what we currently know about the condition, than to follow the advice of the Back to Sleep campaign.

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Which of these statements is true?

When it comes to placing your baby to sleep on his back, there should be no exceptions, even at daycare or other people's homes. A baby who is used to sleeping on his back is 18 times more likely to die of SIDS if he is placed on his side or stomach for the odd nap.

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How does breastfeeding impact SIDS risk?

Breastfeeding cuts the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent, but there's still plenty that bottle-feeding families can do to protect their children -- including using a safe sleeping environment, avoiding all tobacco smoke and giving the baby a pacifier at bedtime.

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How warm do babies need to be at night?

Many people worry about infants getting cold, but babies actually need to be in a space that would be comfortable for an adult. Bundling a baby up excessively or setting the thermostat too high is actually linked to an increased risk of SIDS.

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Which of these products do experts recommend for parents looking to prevent SIDS?

Both the FDA and the CDC warn that there are no products on the market proven to prevent SIDS. Instead of splurging on these products that claim to cut risk, use techniques that the experts give for free, like avoiding tobacco and creating a safe sleep environment.

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Which babies should be placed on their stomachs to sleep?

Some people place babies on their bellies to sleep because they are afraid the baby will choke. The truth is, sleeping on the back does not increase the risk of choking aspiration, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The only time a baby should ever be placed on his stomach to sleep is if he has a diagnosed upper airway disorder -- not a cold or virus -- and the doctor tells you that he should be placed on his stomach. Otherwise, it's Back to Sleep all the way to prevent SIDS.

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What should you do if your child develops a flat spot on the back of the head?

A flat spot on the head usually means the baby is spending too much time on his back during the day. Keep placing him on his back to sleep, but give him as much tummy time as possible during the day to reduce the risk of flat spots.

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Which of these is a safe alternative to the crib for nighttime sleeping?

There is no safe alternative to placing a baby flat on his back in a crib when it comes to reducing SIDS risk. Car seats, strollers and slings are not safe sleeping spots, especially for babies under four months old.

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When is it OK to let your baby sleep on the couch?

Soft spots like couches pose a serious risk for SIDS, and should never be considered a safe sleeping spot for babies.

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What percent of SIDS cases occur in babies under six months old?

A staggering 90 percent of all SIDS cases occur in babies younger than six months. Of course, that doesn't mean you are safe after the baby hits the seven-month milestone -- the remaining ten percent occur in children between six months and one year old.

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What percent of babies were placed on their stomachs to sleep in 2016?

Despite repeated warnings from pediatricians and other experts, around 30 percent of babies are still placed on their stomachs at bedtime, putting them at a serious risk for SIDS.

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Which feature is most common among SIDS victims?

Around 70 percent of infants who die of SIDS were sharing a bed with someone. Bed sharing is extremely dangerous to babies, due to the risk of suffocation, especially if someone rolls over on the child.

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What is the leading cause of death among healthy children under one year of age?

Stories about abuse may get all the media attention, but SIDS is by far the largest killer of otherwise healthy infants, so taking steps to reduce your risk is one of the smartest steps you can take as a parent.

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Which of these statements is true?

Keeping your baby too warm at night increases his risk of SIDS. Remember that babies should sleep at approximately the same temperature as adults, around 68 degrees F, so a pair of pajamas and a sleepsack should be sufficient unless the temperature in the home is frigid.

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Which of these factors regarding the mother increases the risk of SIDS?

Certain maternal factors are associated with an increased risk of SIDS, including giving birth before the age of 20, smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol or failing to obtain adequate prenatal care.

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Which gender is more vulnerable to SIDS?

While no one is exactly sure why, boys are slightly more vulnerable to SIDS than girls. SIDS also has a genetic component, which means that if one member of a family dies of SIDS, other members are more vulnerable to SIDS than families with no SIDS-related deaths.

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Which of these factors does NOT increase SIDS risk?

Certain babies are more susceptible to SIDS than others, including babies born prematurely and those of African-American or Native-American descent in the U.S.

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Why did the rate of SIDS get cut in half, starting in 1994?

The American Academy of Pediatrics launched the Back to Sleep campaign, encouraging parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, in 1994. Since then, the rate of SIDS deaths has been cut in half!

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How many babies in the U.S. die of SIDS annually?

Around 3,500 babies still die of SIDS each year, as of 2016. It's not possible to know, however, if some of these deaths are classified incorrectly, due to incomplete diagnosis or sensitivity to grieving families.

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Shortly after birth, what is the minimum "skin-to-skin care" time recommended for mothers and babies?

If possible, mothers and babies should have a minimum of one hour "skin-to-skin care" shortly after birth, when the mother is stable and awake. This is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a means to help prevent SIDS.

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