SIDSPublic Health Solutions (formerly MHRA)

History of SIDS

What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under twelve months old, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation including performance of an autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of clinical history. (Willinger et al.,1991).


National SIDS Act (1974) orders the funding of SIDS programs in every state, with a twofold mission to:

  • Provide information and support to families who have a SIDS experience.
  • Provide education about SIDS to emergency response workers and the community.
U.S Department of Health, Education and Welfare awards funding directly to community-based non-profit organizations nationally.


NYS Health Department receives federal monies for SIDS through the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and in turn funds several programs throughout New York State.


American Academy of Pediatrics identifies the prone (face down) position as a significant risk factor for SIDS and later recommends placing babies to sleep on their backs.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development launches the ‘Back-to-Sleep’ campaign.

NYS Health Department establishes the New York State Center for SIDS comprised of five regional programs that provide education on sudden infant death risk reduction and bereavement counseling to grieving families.


In 2010, the NYS DOH established the Keeping New York Kids Alive Program and awarded a contract to the New York State Center for Sudden Infant Death to fulfill its mission. Under the new program name, the SICD Resource Center will broaden their efforts to develop a common understanding of the spectrum of factors that lead to potentially preventable child deaths and develop recommendation for community based prevention initiatives.