Three ways to protect against SIDS

James McKenna, PhD Infant Sleep Expert, shares advice for parents on the best three ways to protect your baby from SIDS
3 Ways to Best Protect Against SIDS
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Three ways to protect against SIDS

During the last decade, we've seen a tremendous decrease in the amount of Sudden Infant Death Syndromes per live 1,000 babies born. For example, in 1991, the number of deaths were four or five babies per one thousand, in the United States. Now we are down to about 1,500 to 2,000 babies. It's very clear why we have been able to reduce these tragic deaths. We have put back into the picture and recommendations three important normative human practices. One, breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is an important for the prevention of SIDS. Two, we have removed babies from stomach sleeping, and have put them on their backs. That proved to be, singularly, the most significant factor in reducing the instances of SIDS. Why? Probably because it promotes uninterrupted, deep stage sleep. That's one possibility; a stage of sleep from which infants have difficulty arousing from determinate apnea, or babies get caught with weak neck muscles and breathe lethal doses of carbon monoxide from their mattresses. We put them on their backs. Why do we put them on their backs? Because its the only way they can breastfeed. By the way, the third is the only way they can breastfeed is if they have a mother close. Room sharing or co-sleeping, is protecting babies. Breastfeeding is protecting babies. Putting babies on their back has protected babies from SIDS.

James McKenna, PhD Infant Sleep Expert, shares advice for parents on the best three ways to protect your baby from SIDS


Expert Bio

More from Expert

James McKenna, PhD

Anthropologist & Author

Professor James J. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS. In recognition of his work in 2009 he was admitted as a Fellow into the select body of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's most prestigious scientific society. That same year and in recognition of his extensive work with television, radio, and print media he received from the American Anthropological Association the “2008 Anthropology In The Media Award” one of the top three awards presented to anthropologists by the association in recognition of his distinguished work in educating the public to the importance of anthropological concepts. He received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, his Master's Degree from San Diego State University in 1972, and his PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Oregon, Eugene, in 1975. Professor McKenna has published over 139 refereed scientific articles in diverse medical and anthropological journals on co-sleeping, breastfeeding, evolutionary medicine and SIDS, and both here and abroad he gives over 20 lectures especially to pediatric groups and parents. Here in the United States he remains one of the primary spokesperson to the media on issues pertaining to sleeping arrangements, nighttime breast-feeding and SIDS prevention. He has also published two monographs on SIDS and infant sleep, and co-edited two books:  Evolutionary Medicine and Evolutionary Medicine And Health: New Perspectives. His first trade book for parents was published in 2008 entitled: Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parents Guide To Co-Sleeping, and was recently translated and available in Spanish and Dutch.

More Parenting Videos from James McKenna, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter