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  • Writer's picturechildrens wellness center

Safe Sleep for Babies

For all new parents and guardians, it’s important to follow safety guidelines to protect your

baby while they’re sleeping and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on their backs on a firm and

flat surface, without any soft bedding, including pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys. Soft

bedding and inclined sleeper products can lead to accidental suffocation. Instead, it’s best to

use a fitted sheet only and not let anything else in your baby’s crib. To make sure that your crib

or bassinet is safe for your baby, please adhere to the standards of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Their website also includes information on product recalls.

It is not recommended that infants sleep on their stomachs. According to medical research,

SIDS may be caused by defects in the part of the brain that controls breathing and waking up. If

your baby is on their stomach, they will sleep more deeply and may not wake up when they

need oxygen. It’s also important to avoid the side position as your baby may roll onto their

stomach. Note that in some cases, premature babies may need to be placed on their stomachs

while in NICU. But, this should only be temporarily and they should be placed on their backs

when they’re medically stable so that they get used to sleeping in this position. Once your baby

reaches 12 months, it is safe for them to sleep on their stomachs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against bed sharing, including twins and

multiples. It is, however, beneficial to share a room with your baby as it makes it easier to

watch over them and can decrease the risk of SIDS by 50%. It is also not considered safe for

babies to routinely sleep in car seats, strollers, infant carriers, or swings. If your baby falls

asleep in any of these, move them to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible.

If you have concerns about your baby staying warm at night, dress them in an extra layer than

you’d need to be warm or a wearable blanket. You can also swaddle your baby as long as you

do so safely. Don’t swaddle them tightly or use weighted blankets. If your baby shows any sign

of rolling over, stop swaddling. For more tips on safe swaddling and the risks, click here. It’s also

important to be mindful of possible overheating as that can increase the risk of SIDS. Look out

for signs such as sweating or flushed skin and keep the sleep environment at normal room


Another safety tip to follow is to prevent any exposure to nicotine. Do not smoke or allow

anyone else to smoke around your baby. Secondhand smoke is a major risk factor for SIDS as it

can impair your baby’s breathing.

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s sleep environment, please contact our


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