One of the most important decisions you will make as a new parent is where and how you place your baby to sleep. If you follow these safe sleep rules, you will help protect your baby from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and accidents during sleep. Download Print-Friendly Version (PDF).
- Always place your baby to sleep on his back. Side and tummy positions are not safe.
- Use a crib that meets current safety standards. The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib. Cover the mattress with only a tight-fitting crib sheet. Portable cribs and play yard style cribs are also good choices.
- Do not put anything soft, loose or fluffy in your baby’s sleep space. This includes pillows, blankets, comforters, soft or pillow-like bumpers, stuffed animals and other soft items.
- Use a sleep sack or other type sleeper instead of blankets to keep your baby warm and safe.
- Place your baby’s separate, safe sleep space near your bed to help you protect her and make breastfeeding easier. This is called room sharing.
- Falling asleep with your baby in bed or on a couch or armchair is dangerous. Room share instead.
- Never place your baby to sleep on top of any soft surface. This includes adult beds, waterbeds, pillows, cushions, comforters and sheepskins.
- Do not use wedges or positioners to prop your baby up or keep him on his back.
- Make sure your baby doesn’t get too warm during sleep. Use light sleep clothing and keep room temperature at what would be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult.
- Offer your baby a pacifier every time you place her down to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, wait until nursing is going well before offering a pacifier (usually 3-4 weeks.)
- Educate everyone who cares for your baby about these safe sleep rules!
To learn more, visit the Bedtime Basics for Babies section of the website.
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2010
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