WAUSAU (WAOW)-- The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is certainly something that tops the list of concerns for new parents.
SIDS has baffled doctors for decades and after years of research there's still no certain cause.
According to the American SIDS Institute though, doctors are making strides.
They report the SIDS rate at an all time low falling over 50% since the early 90's.
Doctors credit a big part of the decrease in SIDS-related deaths to changing the position you lay a baby.
About ten years ago, positioning a baby on the stomach for sleep became a no-no. Now, anytime you put them down, it should be on their back.
Licensed daycare providers are required to lay a baby on its back.
But it's important for parents to make sure others watching their baby, do the same.
"There's been people, baby boomers, grandparents that in the past laid the babies on their stomachs and now they're finding that may have been a cause. Getting the grandparents and the baby boomers informed that placing the babies on their stomach is no longer acceptable is important. The babies need to be placed on their back," says Laurie Solomon of Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
"Tummy time" is acceptable, even healthy for babies at certain times, but it should happen only when the baby is awake and closely supervised.
Solomon says, "They need that tummy time not only to reduce the flat spot on the back of their head, but just to build their muscles in their neck and back for crawling and sitting up and as they later develop."
Other preventive measures parents can take include: placing baby on a firm sleep surface, keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of baby's sleep area, not smoking around baby, not overheating baby, and not forcing the baby to take a pacifier.
Health experts also say no matter how tempting, keeping the baby out of your bed is critical.
"There is the potential that that baby could get suffocated next to mom, she's sleeping, she might not be aware where the baby is at all times. So, that's not recommended," says Solomon.
All new parents are advised of these measures by hospital staff before taking a baby home.
They're also given literature explaining the risks for SIDS.
But even with preventive measures, there are sadly still about 2,500 SIDS-related deaths in the U.S. every year.