Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a baby's risk. They include:

  • Sex. Boys are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Age. Infants are most vulnerable during the second and third months of life.
  • Race. For reasons that aren't well-understood, black, American Indian or Eskimo infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
  • Family history. Babies who've had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Secondhand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Being premature. Both being born early and having low birth weight increase your baby's chances of SIDS.

Maternal risk factors

During pregnancy, the risk of SIDS is also affected by the mother, especially if she:

  • Is younger than 20
  • Smokes cigarettes
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Has inadequate prenatal care
May. 17, 2014

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