Have you read our 2017-2021 Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Regional Collaboratives Program Report to Congress? The 2017-2021 SCDTDRCP addressed clinical and psychosocial needs to improve the health and quality of life of people with sickle cell disease. Read the report here.

Baby Sleeping in crib

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

During the month of October, we celebrate Children's Health Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about children's health issues and join maternal-child health advocates in recognizing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month as a time to educate parents and caregivers about creating safe sleep environments and reducing the risk of SIDS other sleep-related illnesses.

October is Health Literacy Month!

Personal health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Health literacy and clear communication between health professionals and patients and caregivers are key to improving health and the quality of health care children receive.

Read about teach-back strategies and how they can improve health literacy by helping providers pause and check for comprehension and understanding.

Learn how to launch an Early Childhood Parent Academy to educate parents about key topic areas they need to know about early childhood development.

Creating Safe Sleep Environments

There are about 3,400 sleep-related deaths among US babies each year. Although health care providers and researchers don’t know the exact causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), research shows parents and caregivers can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths.

Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1-year-old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. Sudden unexpected infant deaths include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes that happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area.

While the country's rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past two decades, SIDS continues to claim the lives of about 1,500 U.S. infants each year. This October, we join The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in recognizing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. At NICHQ, we are committed to making infant safe sleep and breastfeeding and chestfeeding the national norm. Help us spread the word about the importance of creating a safe sleep environment and learn how you can support parents and caregivers with resources and strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Spread the Word on Social Media

Join NICHQ in recognizing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month on social media all month long. We’ve pulled together a social media toolkit with ready-to-use graphics and sample social posts to help you get started. Access our online toolkit, share on your social accounts, and be sure to tag @NICHQ!

Test Your Knowledge

Learning about SIDS and safe sleep for babies is important for all caregivers, not just for parents. Providers, healthcare professionals, and advocates can use this short, interactive quiz to engage caregivers in conversations about safe sleep and breastfeeding recommendations. Also, check out the Spanish version!

Baby laying in crib on back

Safe Sleep Resources

The below resources can be used by pediatricians, family physicians, other health care providers, and advocates to work with parents and caregivers to reduce the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths.

Feeding and Safe Sleep

Breastfeeding and chestfeeding can help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Babies who are breastfed or chestfed or are fed expressed breastmilk are at lower risk for SIDS compared with babies who were never fed breastmilk. According to research, the longer mothers and birthing people exclusively breastfeed their babies (meaning not supplementing with formula or solid food), the lower their baby's risk of SIDS.

The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months.

NICHQ is dedicated to helping breastfeeding and chestfeeding mothers and birthing people create safe sleep environments to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related illnesses. Learn more about our work to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding through our National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN) initiative.

Improving Safe Sleep Conversations

By helping to eliminate persistent but avoidable disparities in SIDS rates, addressing unsafe sleep practices with underserved populations can reduce infant mortality for all. Watch our past webinar featuring a series of role-playing exercises demonstrating tactics to engage families from different backgrounds in meaningful conversations about safe sleep.  

Coping with Loss

October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. During the entire month, we take time to honor and remember those who have lost a child during pregnancy or lost a child in infancy.

Pregnancy and Infant loss affects 1 in 4 women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women and birthing people are twice as likely to experience stillbirth in comparison to Non-Hispanic Whites, Asian or Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. 

Throughout the U.S., organizations, state agencies, government teams and other stakeholders are studying infant mortality and analyzing the disparities between communities.

child drawing rainbow, NICHQ's Commitment to EquityMark your calendars! During the month of October, NICHQ is proud bring awareness to a variety of health issues and topics impacting LGBTGQIA youth as we recognize the following awareness days:

  • October 11 - National Coming Out Day
  • October 20 - International Pronouns Day
  • October 26 - Intersex Awareness Day

We are committed to achieving equity in all forms, including race, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability. Read more from NICHQ's COO Heidi Brooks about our shift to using more inclusive language in maternal and child health.