Safe Sleep for Your Baby
As a parent, you are responsible for a safe sleeping environment for your baby. This includes the proper sleep position (on the back) on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib with no softbedding or blankets in a smoke-free environment.
Make sure your caregiver knows the rules for safe sleep when you are not home or your baby is in daycare.
Sleeping on the back helps prevent SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) typically affects babies during their first year of life. SIDS is the unexpected death of a healthy infant whose death remains unexplained even after a complete post-death investigation.
Not all SIDS deaths can be prevented. However, the risk for this family tragedy can be reduced by following safe sleep practices. Begin by always placing your baby on his or her back for sleeping. Back sleeping (called the supine position) is recommended by pediatricians to keep airways open and breathing easy. Don’t worry about choking. Healthy babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids.
Always place your baby on his or her back for naps and longer sleep. Infants who sleep on their stomachs or sides have a higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
Place your baby on the stomach only when he or she is awake and someone is watching. Tummy time helps your baby’s muscles get stronger and helps to prevent flat spots on the head.
Make the crib a safe place
More babies die each year in crib incidents than from any other nursery product. Make your baby’s crib a safe place to sleep.
New cribs on the market today meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. Ask a salesperson if you’re not sure if the crib meets all safety requirements.
If you are using a used crib, make sure there are no sharp or jagged edges, broken or loose parts, or side latches that can be easily released by your baby. Crib slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart and gaps between the sides of the crib and the mattress should be no larger than two fingers’ width.
Use a firm mattress covered only with a crib sheet. Do not use pillows, quilts or comforters, loose sheets or blankets, crib bumpers, sleep positioners, stuffed toys, water beds or other soft bedding products. Do not place your baby to sleep on beds, chairs, sofas, soft surfaces, bouncy chairs, baby swings or car seats.
Soft bedding is not safe
Place nothing in the crib but the baby—no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads and no toys. Soft bedding—such as bumpers, pillows and loose blankets—is associated with the risk of SIDS and can suffocate a baby by blocking the airway during sleep. Tiny faces can become wedged against soft objects, interfering with breathing.
Do not over-clothe your baby during sleep. Use just enough clothes to keep your baby warm and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk of SIDS. Use a sleep sack (wearable blanket), not loose blankets, to keep your baby comfortable.
Share a room, not a bed
Babies are at risk of physical harm when in bed with an adult. Infants can be crushed or suffocated if someone rolls on them.
Room-sharing is a safer option than having your baby in bed with you. Place the bassinet, crib or play pen in your bedroom during the early months for more convenient feeding and cuddle time. Always return your baby to the bassinet, crib or play pen when you’re ready to go back to sleep.
Smoke-free is best
Do not allow smoking around your baby. The greater the baby’s exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
Guide to Safe Sleep
- Lay your baby on his or her back for sleeping.
- Use a safe crib with a firm mattress covered only with a crib sheet.
- Use a sleep sack (wearable blanket), not loose blankets, to keep your baby warm.
Make sure your caregiver knows the rules for safe sleep when you are not at home or your baby is in daycare.
- Put your baby to sleep on beds, chairs, sofas, soft surfaces, bouncy chairs, baby swings or car seats.
- Use pillows, quilts or comforters, loose sheets or blankets, crib bumpers, sleep positioners, stuffed toys, water beds and other soft bedding products.
- Share your bed with your baby.
Ask for help
If you are concerned about your baby's sleep patterns, breathing or crying, ask your doctor to check your child. Call 254-724-KIDS (5437) for an appointment.