Updated: April 6, 2004
Concerns have been expressed that vaccines may be associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which most frequently occurs in infants between two and four months of age (a period when many immunizations are given). The Institute of Medicine (IOM)—a prestigious medical research organization that provides objective, timely, and authoritative health information to the government and the public—conducted a review of all available evidence to respond to this concern.
The IOM released a report in March 2003 that concluded that the evidence shows no link between vaccines and unexplained infant deaths. The report recommends that the childhood vaccine schedule remain the same. The IOM suggests that researchers continue to study adverse events that follow immunization, as well as why sudden infant deaths occur.
Other scientific studies and review papers also conclude that vaccines do not cause SIDS. Since 1992, the rate of SIDS in the United States has been reduced by 40% as a result of an education campaign encouraging parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs.