Create a Safe Sleep Environment For Your Baby
Create a safe sleeping environment for your baby to reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death.
What is SIDS?
SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation. Each year in the United States, thousands of babies die suddenly and unexpectedly. These deaths are called SUID (pronounced SOO-idd), which stands for “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.”
SUID includes all unexpected deaths: those without a clear cause, such as SIDS, and those from a known cause, such as suffocation. One-half of all SUID cases are SIDS. Many unexpected infant deaths are accidents, but a disease or something done on purpose can also cause a baby to die suddenly and unexpectedly.
Sleep-related causes of infant death are those linked to how or where a baby sleeps or slept. They are due to accidental causes, such as: suffocation; entrapment, when baby gets trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and wall, and can’t breathe; or strangulation, when something presses on or wraps around baby’s neck, blocking baby’s airway. These deaths are not SIDS.
Fast facts about SIDS:
- SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies 1 month to 1 year of age.
- Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between 1 month and 4 months of age.
What does safe sleep look like?
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
- Room sharing—keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep—reduces the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
- Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
- To reduce the risk of SIDS, women should:
- Get regular health care during pregnancy, and
- Not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
- To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
- Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
- Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
- Do not use home heart or breathing monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Give your baby plenty of Tummy Time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching.
Remember Tummy Time!
Place babies on their stomachs when they are awake and when someone is watching. Tummy Time helps your baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger and helps to prevent flat spots on the head.
Answers to common questions about SIDS:
Q: What is the best way to reduce my baby’s risk for SIDS?
A: Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep for every sleep time is the best way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Q: Will my baby choke if placed on the back to sleep?
A: No. Healthy babies naturally swallow or cough up fluids—it’s a reflex all people have. Babies might actually clear such fluids better when on their backs.
Q: What if my baby rolls onto the stomach on his or her own during sleep? Do I need to put my baby in the back-sleep position again if this happens?
A: No. Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby’s growth. Most babies start rolling over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age. If your baby rolls over on his or her own during sleep, you do not need to turn the baby over onto his or her back. The important thing is that the baby start off every sleep time on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS, and that there is no soft, loose bedding in the baby’s sleep area.
Spreading the word:
- Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Remember: Babies sleep safest on their backs, and every sleep time counts!
- Help family members, babysitters, daycare workers— EVERYONE—reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and ensure a safe sleep area for your baby.
- Share these safe sleep messages with everyone who cares for your baby or for any baby younger than 1 year of age.
- Contact the Safe to Sleep® campaign:
- Visit http://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov
- Mail: 31 Center Drive, 31/2A32, Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
- Phone: 1-800-505-CRIB (2742)
- Fax: 1-866-760-5947
- For Crib safety Information contact:
- Visit www.cpsc.gov
- Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772