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Safe Infant Sleep

Protect your baby while they are sleeping

There's nothing sweeter or more peaceful than a sleeping baby. But how do you know if they're sleeping safely?

3,500 infants die each year in the U.S. due to sleep related deaths. Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children less than 1 year old. Many of these deaths are due to unsafe sleeping situations that lead to unintentional suffocation.

Infants sleep more than 50 percent of the time. In the first couple weeks, newborns sleep almost 70 percent of the time. As parents and caregivers, we know you want to do everything it takes to protect your baby.

We’re here to help with some tips on how to keep your baby safe while sleeping, as well as some things you need to make sure you are not doing.

What You Need to Know

  • 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).

*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.

Help Us Spread the Word

Do you know of a new or expectant mom you want to share this information with? Please feel free to use our messaging below or create your own. To use our messaging, all you have to do is copy the messages we've provided below and insert the appropriate photo into whichever social media site you use. We do ask that you keep #safesleep in the message.

Social media messages to help us share

This is unsafe. Babies should always sleep on their backs.
Always place your baby on their back every time they sleep in their crib, until they are old enough to roll over on their own. When sleeping on their tummies, they are at risk for suffocation. #safesleep

always sleep on their backs

This is unsafe. There should be no items in the bed with your baby.
Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed toys and bumper pads. All these items all can cause baby to suffocate, if they are not unable to move yet on their own. #safesleep

no items in the bed

This is unsafe. Worried about your baby being cold? Use a sleep sack instead of a blanket.
To keep your baby warm at night, use a sleep sack or long-sleeved onesie rather than blankets or swaddling. #safesleep

Use a sleep sack

This is unsafe. Car seats are not safe places for babies to nap.
Always keep your baby properly buckled up in their car seat. Otherwise, they could move into a position while sleeping where they could suffocate. #safesleep

properly buckled up

This is unsafe. Feeling sleepy? Put your baby to bed first.
Being a new mom is exhausting. If you feel yourself dozing off while holding your baby, make sure to put him or her in their crib first. Otherwise, your baby could accidentally suffocate as you both move around while you sleep. #safesleep

baby to bed first

This is unsafe. Room share, don’t bed share.
Sharing a room with your baby in the first months helps to keep them safe and makes it easier for breast feeding. However, make sure that they are sleeping alone in their crib. Bed sharing can lead to accidental suffocation. #safesleep

don’t bed share

This is unsafe. Use a sleep sack instead of swaddling.
Swaddling can cause respiratory infections, hip dysplasia, overheating and accidental suffocation. #safesleep

sleep sack instead of swaddling

This is unsafe. 3,500 infants die annually in the U.S. from sleep-related deaths
Keep your baby safe by following safe infant sleep recommendations. #safesleep

sleep-related deaths

Downloadable posters

Here are some posters about safe infant sleep that you can download and print.

Safe sleep poster – English

Safe sleep poster – Spanish

Safe sleep practices by Jason Terk, M.D.

Help Implement Safe Sleep Initiative

Do you work with new and expectant mothers or in a daycare setting with infants? Do you have a safe sleep policy in place? Below are some resources to help your organization adopt safe sleep practices.

Room to breathe!2011 bed-sharing precaution report from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Interested in partnering with us? To learn how your organization can adopt the Safe Sleep initiative, please contact

Safe Sleep News and Articles