Immunisation and your baby

Red Nose recommends immunisation for babies. There are many health benefits including a lower risk of sudden infant death. Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting against a number of infectious diseases.


  • Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting against a number of infectious diseases.
  • The risks associated with immunisation-preventable diseases are far greater than the risks of immunisation.
  • Multiple source of evidence confirm that immunisation does NOT increase the risk of SUDI.

Infants routinely receive multiple immunisations between the ages of 2 to 4 months old (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, 2022). This age range coincides with the peak age at which Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) occurs (Shapiro-Mendoza et al., 2018). The timing of the 2-month and 4-month immunisations and SUDI has led some people to believe that the two events are related. However, multiple high-quality studies have found that immunisations do not cause and are not linked to SUDI.

Are immunisations linked to SUDI?

No. Multiple case-control studies have confirmed that SUDI is less common in immunised infants compared with those who are not immunised, whether for specific immunisations or based on immunisation status in general (Fleming et al., 2001; Griffin et al., 1988; Mitchell et al., 1995; Vennemann, Butterfaß-Bahloul, et al., 2007). Indeed, a meta-analysis of case-control studies found that immunisation was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of SUDI (Vennemann, Höffgen, et al., 2007).

Looking at the evidence in another way, international research has demonstrated that a delayed or incomplete immunisation is linked to increased risk for SUDI (Deschanvres et al., 2022). Finally, multiple epidemiological studies have demonstrated that increasing immunisation rates at the population level is associated with a decreased incidence of SIDS or SUDI (Müller-Nordhorn et al., 2021). These different types of research indicate that there is no increased risk of SIDS or SUDI relating to immunisation, but instead immunisation is likely protective (Moon et al., 2022).

Should infants receive routine immunisations?

Red Nose recommends that all infants are immunised according to the National Immunisation Program Schedule unless contraindicated. A contraindication is a health condition that increases the risk of a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine. True contraindications to immunisations are rare in infants, and are often specific to a particular component of some immunisations (such as a known history of anaphylaxis to an immunisation ingredient) or to particular types of immunisations (such as live-attenuated immunisations in infants or children who are immunocompromised) (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care & Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), 2022)


Evidence from multiple types of research all indicate that immunisation does not increase the risk of SIDS or SUDI. Cumulative evidence suggests that immunisation is, in fact protective. Immunising infants protects them from a range of serious and preventable diseases and infants should be immunised according to the National Immunisation Program schedule unless contraindicated.

Further information

Families are encouraged to speak with their GP and Maternal Child Health Nurse for further information about immunising their infant. Additional information can be found on the following websites:

The Safe Sleeping program is based on strong scientific evidence, has been developed in consultation with major health authorities, SUDI researchers and paediatric experts in Australasia and overseas, and meets the National Health & Medical Research Council rules for strong evidence.


Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. (2022). National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, & Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). (2022). Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Deschanvres, C., Levieux, K., Launay, E., de Visme, S., Hanf, M., Gras-Le Guen, C., & OMIN Study Group, the. (2022). Title: Sub-optimal immunization associated with increased risk of sudden unexpected death 4 in infancy: a national case-control study Short title: Immunization and sudden unexpected death in infancy. SSRN.

Fleming, P. J., Blair, P. S., Platt, M. W., Tripp, J., Smith, I. J., & Golding, J. (2001). The UK accelerated immunisation programme and sudden unexpected death in infancy: case-control study. BMJ, 322, 1–5.

Griffin, M. R., Ray, W. A., Livengood, J. R., & Schaffner, W. (1988). Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome after Immunization with the Diphtheria–Tetanus–Pertussis Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine, 319(10), 618–623.

Mitchell, E. A., Stewart, A. W., & Clements, M. (1995). Immunisation and the sudden infant death syndrome. New Zealand Cot Death Study Group. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 73(6), 498–501.

Moon, R. Y., Carlin, R. F., & Hand, I. (2022). Evidence Base for 2022 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment to Reduce the Risk of Sleep-Related Infant Deaths. Pediatrics, 150(1).

Shapiro-Mendoza, C. K., Parks, S., Lambert, A. E., Camperlengo, L., Cottengim, C., & Olson, C. (2018). The Epidemiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths: Diagnostic Shift and other Temporal Changes.

Vennemann, M. M. T., Butterfaß-Bahloul, T., Jorch, G., Brinkmann, B., Findeisen, M., Sauerland, C., Bajanowski, T., & Mitchell, E. A. (2007). Sudden infant death syndrome: No increased risk after immunisation. Vaccine, 25(2), 336–340.

Vennemann, M. M. T., Höffgen, M., Bajanowski, T., Hense, H. W., & Mitchell, E. A. (2007). Do immunisations reduce the risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis. In Vaccine (Vol. 25, Issue 26, pp. 4875–4879).

Last modified: 18/5/23