Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1-year-old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SUID includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes. 

Although there is no known cause for SUID, research has indicated smoking and/or nicotine use as one of the major preventable risk factors.

Infants are at greater risk for SUID from smoke and/or nicotine use exposure because some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke and nicotine are known to alter the brain and lung development of infants. The US Surgeon General has stated there is no safe level of secondhand smoke (SHS). Even inhaling a little SHS poses a serious threat to your health.

What can parents do?

Parents can protect their babies by quitting smoking or using nicotine delivery tools (i.e. vaping) during pregnancy and by not allowing relatives or friends who smoke to smoke and/or vape around the babies. Parents should also urge childcare workers and babysitters to wash their hands and change into smoke-free clothing before handling the baby.

Prioritizing a Baby's Health

Smoking impacts the majority of your organs. Smoking is linked to diseases such as cancer, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke to name a few. Smoking-related illnesses kill almost a half-million people in the United States every year. Pregnant moms who smoke and/or use nicotine increase their baby's risk of SIDS. Quitting smoking and/or nicotine use is one of the best things you can do for your baby’s health and your own.

If you are seriously thinking about quitting, call the ACH Tobacco Interventionist program at 501-364-4396 or Be Well Arkansas at 1-833-283-WELL (9355) for help. Visit today.

Expectant Parent Resources

The Arkansas Children’s expectant parent pages will help you find neonatal intensive care resources, research study opportunities with the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, what to expect during the first month of a baby’s life and much more.

View expectant parent information