Safe Sleep Environments


This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Sleep-related deaths (SIDS and SUID) are the third-leading cause of death for Mississippi infants. Fortunately, parents and caregivers can take steps to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths. The Mississippi State Department of Health offers counseling, referral and training on prevention of sleep-related deaths and helping those affected by SIDS and SUID.


Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is the death of a infant less than one year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious prior to investigation.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that remains unexplained after complete investigation, which includes an autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the symptoms or illness the baby had before dying.

Mississippi SUID/SIDS Facts

  • SIDS is the third leading cause of death for infants in Mississippi.
  • Babies are more likely to die of SUID/SIDS when they sleep on their stomachs.
  • About one in five SUID/SIDS deaths occur while an infant is being cared for by someone other than a parent.
  • In 2017, 64 Mississippi infants died from SUID/SIDS.

How You Can Reduce the Risk of SUID/SIDS

A safe sleep environment is free of pillows, blankets and other objects in the crib.

You can lower your baby's risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death by taking the following steps. Make sure that others caring for the infant (child care providers, relatives, friends, and babysitters) also follow these recommendations.

  • Place your infant completely on his or her back to sleep at night and for naps.
  • Use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib. Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, crib bumpers, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects from the infant's sleeping area.
  • Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair — alone, with you, or with anyone else — due to the danger of accidental suffocation.
  • Do not allow your infant to get too hot during sleep. The infant should be lightly clothed and the bedroom temperature should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Use a sleep sack or similar sleepwear instead of blankets to help keep your baby warm and safe.
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, when you are finished.
  • Do not smoke while pregnant or around your baby and never allow others to smoke around your infant. Get free help quitting smoking »

Special Steps Women Can Take

  • Get regular health care during pregnancy.
  • Never smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
  • Follow your health care provider's guidance on your baby's vaccinations and regular health checkups.
  • Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Do not use home heart or breathing monitors.
  • Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching.

Guidelines for Child Care Facilities

Child care facility such as daycares and after-school care also have important roles to play in preventing sleep-related deaths. This document provides recommendations and tools for child care facilities.

The SIDS Outreach Program

The MSDH SIDS Outreach Program offers the following support services for families, professionals and the community:

  • Counseling and referral services provided by a nurse or social worker for families who have experienced an infant death
  • Seminars or training for parents, community members, various professionals (nurses, social workers, child care workers, etc.) on SIDS risk reduction and bereavement
  • Community outreach activities with local organizations

Helping Those Who Have Lost a Child to SIDS

The death of an infant is a traumatic event that affects the entire family for the rest of their lives.

The impact of a SIDS death affects parents, siblings, grandparents, the extended family, babysitters, friends and many others. Be aware and sensitive to the feelings and needs of these people — allow them to talk about the baby, what happened, their feelings and concerns.

Support services and accurate information can help those affected by the loss of a child to SIDS. Contact your a county health department near you to obtain support services for families affected by a SIDS death.

SUID/SIDS Resources



SIDS Outreach Program
Mississippi State Department of Health
570 East Woodrow Wilson
Osborne Building, Suite 200
Jackson, MS 39216

Phone: 601-576-7619

Last reviewed on May 19, 2021

More topics

Sign up for weekly public health updates by e-mail: 
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS

Accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board