Safe Sleep

The rate of deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, has dropped by 70 percent in the last 25 years or so. Experts believe thousands of babies’ lives have been saved because of new knowledge about safe sleep. Here’s how to best protect your little one while he or she is sleeping.

Back to sleep

Babies up to one year of age should always be put on their backs to sleep, whether it’s at night or during daytime naps. This includes babies who have reflux, because their airways and gag reflexes are designed to keep them from choking while on their backs. Babies who are placed on their sides or stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS. However, once your baby is able to roll from back to tummy (and the other way, too), there’s no reason to roll them back over onto their backs while they’re sleeping.

Bed safety

Your baby’s bed, whether it’s a crib, a bassinet or a cradle, should have a firm mattress that fits tightly against the sides and ends of the bed. Only use a fitted sheet that fits tightly—no top sheet or blanket, no crib bumper, and no pillows or stuffed animals should be in the bed with them. Never lay your baby down to sleep on a couch or chair, and only bring your baby into your own bed for feeding or snuggling. If you think you might accidentally fall asleep while your baby is in bed with you, make sure there are no pillows, sheets or blankets that could cover baby’s face.

Room sharing

Ideally, your baby’s bed should be in your bedroom for at least the first six months, and up to a year. Keep it close to your bed if you can, which will allow you to reach over and touch your baby as needed.

For more information about infant safe sleeping, listen to our HealthChat podcast.