Safe Sleep Tips & Recommendations

Alone in the crib
Back to sleep
Crib or bassinet
  • Infants should always be placed on their backs for sleep.
  • Infants are safest in their own sleep environment.
  • A firm crib mattress covered by a sheet is the recommended sleeping surface.
  • Keep all soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or around infants.
  • Wedges and posittioners should not be used.
  • Consider offering your infant a pacifier at naps and bedtime.
  • Dressing babies too warmly may cause them to overheat. They can sleep comfortably in light clothing.
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. None have been proven safe or effective.
  • Avoid positional plagiocephaly (flat back of head) by encouraging supervised "tummy time" when your infant is awake.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended for it is associated with the reduced risk of encountering SIDS.
  • Infants should be immunized - research shows that this can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
  • Bumper pads should not be used whatsoever. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries.
Get the recommendations straight from the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics here.

Fast Facts
  • SIDS claims the lives of almost 2,500 infants in the US each year - that's nearly 7 babies every day.
  • Babies who usually sleep on their backs but then are placed on their stomachs are at a higher risk for SIDS.
  • Twenty percent of SIDS deaths occur in a day care setting, emphasizing the need for safe sleep practices to be universally understood and practiced.
  • Since the Back to Sleep Campaign began in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has declined by more than 50 percent.
  • SIDS rates are over three times as high for American Indian/Alaska Native families as compared to the white population.
  • SIDS rates are over twice as high for African American families as compared to the white population.

Common Questions

Q: Won't my baby choke if he or she sleeps on his or her back?
A: No. Healthy babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids. There has been no increase in choking or other problems for babies who sleep on their backs. Placing your baby on his/her back to sleep (as opposed to the side or stomach) is the number one way to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Q: My baby has always slept in the bed with me because I like the closeness and/or I am breastfeeding. Why can't I share a bed with my baby?
A: The safest way for your baby to sleep is alone in a crib. Babies have died because they were smothered by an adult, another child, or objects in the adult bed such as pillows, comforters, soft bedding, or stuffed animals. Babies can get trapped between the bed and the wall or bed frame, or between the cushions on a sofa. Sometimes a baby is injured by rolling off an adult bed. With a baby-safe crib next to your bed, breastfeeding will not be impeded, your baby will sense your nearness, and will still have a safe place to sleep.