Nothing is more important to a parent or primary caregiver than keeping your baby safe at all times. Infants spend at least 50% of their time sleeping, so safe sleep is particularly important. Here are some tips and reminders to help.
Always put them on their back
Placing your baby on their back every time you put them to sleep is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The best place for your baby to sleep is in their bare crib or bassinet. Avoid letting them sleep in a car seat, swing, or baby lounger.
Sleep in the same room
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in a crib or bassinet in the same room as their caregiver for at least the first 6 months. This may or may not feel right for your family. If you want to move your baby to their own room before they reach 6 months of age, consider discussing it with your pediatrician first.
Keep pillows and bumpers out of the crib
A firm, tight-fitting crib mattress with a fitted sheet is the safest option for sleeping. It may be tempting to decorate your nursery with bumpers and stuffed animals, but don’t put them or any other object in your baby’s sleep area.
Don’t cover your baby with a loose blanket
Loose blankets can cover your baby’s face, increasing their risk of suffocation. It’s okay to swaddle your baby until they start to roll over, which usually happens between 2 and 4 months. After that, you can put your baby in a sleep sack.
Carefully consider crib placement
Make sure that drapes and cords from window treatments are out of your newborn’s reach. Similarly, wires of any kind (particularly from video monitors, which are often very close to the crib) must be safely secured so your baby can’t get tangled up in them.
Turn down the heat
Children sleep best in a 68- to 70-degrees Fahrenheit room, dressed in clothes similar to what an adult would find comfortable. Beware of overdressing your baby. Overheating increases the risk of SIDS, so if you’re unable to control the room temperature or feel that it’s stuffy, add a fan to increase air circulation.
Learn more about the research
Moon, R. Y., Carlin, R. F., Hand, I., & Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2022). Sleep-related infant deaths: updated 2022 recommendations for reducing infant deaths in the sleep environment. Pediatrics, 150(1), e2022057990.
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