Every year infants die in their sleep from SIDS and accidental suffocation. They are the leading causes of death among babies age 0 to 12 months, with those 2 to 4 months of age most at risk.
Parents can reduce risk of this tragedy by following some simple guidelines to make sure the sleeping baby’s breathing remains clear and unobstructed. Adhering to these guidelines also helps prevent baby from getting into a position that could cause injury or even death.
Practicing Safe Sleep is Easy as
The caregiver’s room is the safest place for your baby to sleep — alone. Do not co-sleep. Your baby should not sleep with you or anyone else in a bed, on a couch or in a chair.
The back is for sleep, and tummy is for play. Your baby should always be placed to sleep on his or her back. This rule extends to all sleep — naps and nighttime.
Your baby should always sleep in an empty, safety-approved crib with a firm mattress. Remove all loose bedding, pillows and toys.
Safe Sleep Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
- Quit smoking. Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don’t allow others to smoke around your baby. Ready to Quit Smoking?
- No soft surfaces. Babies should not be placed to sleep on waterbeds, sofas or other soft surfaces.
- Do not co-sleep. Make sure your baby always sleeps alone in a safety-approved crib or Pack ‘n Play.
- Monitor tummy time. Give your baby tummy time when they’re awake and supervised, not during sleep.
- Pacifier use is OK. Offering your baby a pacifier during sleep and after breastfeeding are both recommended to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.
- Vaccinate your little one. Make sure your baby gets regular check-ups and stays current with immunizations.
- Spread the word. Make sure everyone who watches your baby is fully aware of your safe sleep practices. Education is key to keeping babies safe.
And remember, Alone, Back, Crib.
What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like?
- The crib should be placed in the parents’ room if possible. It’s the safest place for baby to sleep.
- Whether nap or nighttime, put your baby to sleep alone on his or her back in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet. Use a Pack ‘n Play when traveling.
- Decorate the room, not the crib: Remove all loose bedding and toys such as comforters, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, bumpers, wedges and pillows.
- No co-sleeping. Never let your baby fall asleep in a bed, chair or couch with you or another person.
- Crib railings should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. You should not be able to fit a vertical dollar bill through them.
- Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult, and dress your baby in light sleep clothing.
- Use a sleep sack instead of a blanket. If you must use a blanket, make sure it extends no higher than the middle of your baby’s chest and is tucked into the mattress.
- Maintain a smoke-free home. Don’t smoke before or after birth or allow others to smoke around your baby.
- Breastfeed your baby in a position that will allow you to stay awake. During the night, return the baby to the crib after breastfeeding
- You may offer your baby a clean, dry pacifier after nursing to suck on during sleep. This has shown to help reduce risk of SIDS.
- Never give your baby a pacifier with attached objects, such as stuffed animals, for sleep.