Safe Sleep

It’s important for you and your baby to get enough sleep. You’ll both get a better night’s sleep if you know what the sleep risks are, and how best to keep your baby safe.

Every year, around 3,500 babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly while they’re sleeping but there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation or strangulation.

It is recommended that infants always sleep on their backs (yes, even during nap time). If your baby is able to roll over by themselves (both from stomach to back and back to stomach), you do not need to turn them on their back again.

It’s also important to keep the sleeping environment safe by using a firm and flat sleep surface and avoiding soft bedding or toys in the crib. Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards. If they fall asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, or other object not intended for infant sleep, they should be moved to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible. The mattress should be firm and flat with only a fitted sheet (no bumpers, blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals). 

The Safe Sleep for Babies Act prohibits products that are marketed for infant sleep and have an incline angle greater than 10 degrees. Many of these products, including baby hammock swings and rocking sleepers have been recalled.

Sleeping separately is safest. Risk of sleep-related death or injury greatly increases when bed-sharing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), room sharing can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%, and it’s much safer than bed sharing.

Generally, your baby only needs one more layer than you are wearing. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, dress them in additional layers (not a blanket). Signs of overheating include sweating, a hot chest and/or flushed skin. Pajamas should meet federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, cloths that don’t pose a risk of burn injuries to children.

More information about Safe Sleep 

Vital Signs: Trends and Disparities in Infant Safe Sleep Practices