SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the leading cause of death in babies after one month of age. SIDS occurs when babies under one year of age have died suddenly and unexplained in their sleep. The first six months of the infants' life is when the risk of SIDS is the highest.
SIDS is often referred to as "crib death" because this is where many SIDS babies are found, but SIDS is not caused by cribs. The following have been consistently identified as risk factor for SIDS: lying on stomach sleep position, sleeping on soft surface, smoking during pregnancy, overheating, late or no prenatal care, young maternal age, preterm birth and/or low birth weight and male gender.
The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recognizes side sleeping as a reasonable alternative to sleeping on the back. Studies have found that the side sleep position is unstable and increases the chances of an infant rolling onto his or her stomach. Every caregiver should use the back sleep position during every sleep period.