Quack Myth: The SIDS and Vaccine Connection



In the anti-vaxxer community, there is a belief that there is a connection between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and vaccines. Babies receive multiple vaccines when they are between 2 and 4 months old. This is the age range that is most common for SIDS. This has led people to believe the two are related. 

According to the CDC, studies have found that vaccines do not cause and are not linked to SIDS. There have been multiple studies and safety reviews that have looked into possible links. The evidence accumulated over many years does not show any link between childhood vaccines and SIDS.

A study looked at the ages and seasons of infant deaths after vaccinations reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). It examined VAERS reports following tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis and hepatitis  B vaccines and found no link between them and SIDS. 

A 2003 Institute of Medicine report "Immunization Safety Review Vaccine and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy." The committee reviewed scientific evidence focusing on sudden unexpected death in infancy and looked for possible relationships between SIDS and vaccines. Based on all research findings they reviewed, the committee concluded that vaccines do not cause SIDS. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics found that babies that receive vaccines reduce the chance of SIDS by 50 percent! These vaccines prevent diseases that these babies are susceptible to from a young age. 

The best way to prevent SIDS is to place babies on their back to sleep. SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than 1-year old that does not have any known cause after a complete investigation. These deaths often happen when the child is sleeping or when they are in the sleeping area. 

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that healthy babies be placed on their backs to sleep. This recommendation along with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 1994 "Back to Sleep" campaign encouraged caregivers to place infants on their back to sleep and coincided with a large reduction in the SIDS rate in the United States. 

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