What Works: Changing Knowledge and Behavior to Reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death
Sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) are related to biological, environmental, and behavioral factors acting together or separately. Undetected biological factors within infants (e.g., cardiac and brain abnormalities) can lead to SUID. Factors in infants' environments (e.g., soft bedding and cigarette smoke) that can be modified may be involved in these deaths as well. Finally, the behavior of those caring for infants (e.g., placing infants on their stomachs [prone] to sleep) can also contribute to SUIDs.
In November 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its recommendations on a safe infant sleep environment in its policy statement, SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. These recommendations address environmental and human behavior factors that can reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths in infants. The policy statement lists the recommendations, and the technical report describes evidence of the effectiveness of each recommendation. To learn more about the topic of each recommendation, see Resources to Support the AAP Policy Statement.
Once what works is known, this knowledge must be passed on to those who can make a difference, from the infant’s family and caregivers to health professionals, community groups, manufacturers, the media, and legislators and policymakers. And, to save infants' lives, we must act on the knowledge.
Many interventions can increase knowledge about factors that may contribute to sleep-related death in infants and improve the application of this knowledge to reduce the impact of these factors. Evaluations of these interventions in the published literature look at increases in target audiences' knowledge and at changes in behavior. Some evaluations look at the association between the intervention and subsequent rates of SUID. This page links to websites and sample evaluation articles. It includes vignettes submitted by SUID/SIDS professionals from the field.
How to Get Copies of Articles: Since availability of full-text journal articles is often limited to journal subscribers or inter-library loan, please see your local library for copies of articles, or view PubMed's How to Get the Journal Article or Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce's How to Access Journal Articles for more details.
Types of Interventions: Resources and Evaluations
- Training Toolkit
- For mothers/families
in prenatal care: evaluation
in the hospital: evaluation
at home: parental beliefs
in a WIC clinic: evaluation
- For medical professionals
nurses: evaluation1 | evaluation2 | motivators
- For other professionals
child care providers: Child Care and SIDS | evaluation1 | evaluation2
faith-based training: evaluation1 | evaluation2
Franklin County, Ohio vignette | Greenville, South Carolina vignette
Baby Essentials Online: website | evaluation
Legislation and regulations
- SIDS state laws
- Product safety: cribs and infant equipment: Crib Information Center
- Child care licensing: standards (scroll down to standard 3.1.4 in the document) | evaluation
- Use and taxation of tobacco products: evaluation
Crib distribution programs
For more information
National Library of Medicine: Articles from PubMed on the Evaluation of SUID/SIDS Interventions
December 2011; Updated March 2013