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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Sudden infant death syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • SIDS
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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age 1 which cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted. Infants who are affected by the condition generally appear healthy with no suspicious signs and symptoms prior to the incident.[1][2] It is the leading cause of death in infants age 1 to 12 months old.[3] The exact underlying cause of SIDS is unknown; however, scientists suspect that it is likely a multifactorial condition (associated with the effects of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors).[1] Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a published list of recommendations for risk reduction. Please click on the link to access this resource.
Last updated: 12/15/2015


  1. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. NORD. 2012;
  2. Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Medscape Reference. November 2014;
  3. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 2015;
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Basic Information

  • You can obtain general information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control measures to improve the health of the people of the United States. The !LINK! has updated information and videos on the Zika virus.
  • Mayo Clinic has an information page on Sudden infant death syndrome.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.
  • The national Safe to Sleep® campaign's Web site offers detailed information about Sudden infant death syndrome. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development directs and maintains the campaign with the help of several other organizations.  

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Sudden infant death syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • SIDS
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.