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Safe Infant Sleep

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has a policy statement addressing just this issue. To keep your baby safe, follow these guidelines on safe infant sleep:

Do this:

Safe Sleep campaign poster
  • Babies age 0-12 months should sleep in a safety-approved crib, portable crib, play yards, or bassinet at night and during naps.
  • Babies should sleep on firm surfaces with tightly fitted sheets.
  • Babies should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • After nursing, the mother should return the baby to their own bed before falling asleep.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Usually, babies with reflux should sleep flat on their back.*
  • To keep your baby warm while sleeping, use a sleep sack or long-sleeved onesie.
  • If you are using an infant carrier, make sure the infant's head is up and above the fabric, the face is visible, and that the nose and mouth are clear of obstructions.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

Not this:

  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, and bumper pads.
  • Car seats, infant swings, and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • Avoid overheating the baby with blankets or swaddling,
  • Side and stomach sleeping are not safe for infants who can't roll over.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Don't smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Don't use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.

*If you would like more detail or to see the scientific studies that led to these recommendations, read the full American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.

Did you know?

Suffocation is one of the leading causes of injury related death in infants. But it can be prevented. The Center for Preventions of Child Maltreatment offers information from local professionals on the dangers of co-sleeping, as well as resources for promoting safe sleep in your community.

Learn more about safe sleep