Safe sleep for babies

Nothing is more tragic than a baby who dies in his or her sleep. However, research shows that many sleep-related infant deaths can be prevented. Make sure all who care for babies (parents, relatives, friends, babysitters) know how to put babies to sleep safely.

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Learn the ABCs of safe sleep for babies

A safe sleep environment for babies means:

A – alone: Babies always should sleep alone, without siblings or other people. Nothing should be in the crib, including blankets, bumper pads or toys.
B – on the back: Babies should sleep on their backs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is the safest position for babies to sleep in.
C – in a crib: Babies should sleep in a crib or Pack 'n Play. Safe and Unsafe

An unsafe sleep environment for babies means:

  • Sleeping in a bed or crib with others (adults and siblings).
  • Sleeping on a sofa, recliner chair or soft bedding alone or with others.
  • Using crib bumpers, blankets, pillows or toys in the crib.
  • Smoking in the house or car.

More tips to provide babies with a safe sleep environment:

  • Room temperature should be comfortable to a lightly clothed adult.
  • Use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Use a one-piece sleeper or other warm clothes instead of blankets.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of cribs. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects should be kept out of cribs – they can be a hazard to a baby.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. It should be used when placing an infant down for sleep and should not be reinserted once the infant falls asleep. It should not be coated with a sweet solution. It should be cleaned often and replaced regularly. To establish a breastfeeding routine, wait until babies are 1 month old before offering a pacifier.
  • Check and double-check assembled cribs to assure all parts are present and installed correctly.
  • When awake, encourage "tummy time" by placing babies on their tummies for periods of time. Do not leave babies alone.
  • Avoid having babies spend long periods of time in a car seat carrier or "bouncer.”

Infant safe sleep handouts