Back to Sleep

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"Back to Sleep" is an initiative backed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health to encourage parents to have their infants sleep on their backs (supine position) to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Since "Back to Sleep" was launched in 1994, the incidence of SIDS has declined by more than 50%.[1]


In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued the recommendation that babies sleep on their backs or sides to reduce the risk of SIDS (a statement that was later revised in 1996 to say that only the back was safest). NICHD launched the "Back to Sleep" campaign in 1994 to spread the message.

The campaign was successful in that it significantly reduced the percentage of babies sleeping on their stomachs (prone position). It was found, however, that a significant portion of African-American babies were still sleeping on their stomachs; in 1999, an African-American baby was 2.2 times more likely to die of SIDS than a white baby. Thus, then Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and Tipper Gore refocused the "Back to Sleep" campaign on minority babies.[2].


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