» Safe Sleep of Baby
Sleep of Baby
Q. Can my baby share a bed with her brother or sister?
A. Bed-sharing with other children, including brothers and
sisters is unsafe for your baby. It increases the risk for SIDS
as well as suffocation. There have been reports of infants being
suffocated from overlying by an adult, brother, sister, or other
family member that was sharing a bed with an infant.
Q. Will my baby get “flat spots” on his or her head from back
A. For the most part, flat spots on the back of the baby’s head
go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up. Tummy
time, when your baby is awake, is one way to reduce flat spots.
Another way is to change the direction you place your baby down
to sleep. Doing this means the baby is not always sleeping on
the same side of his or her head. If you think your baby has a
more serious problem, talk to your doctor or nurse. Enjoy Your
Q. Is there a risk of choking when my baby sleeps on his or
A. No, babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids. Doctors
have found no increase in choking or other problems in babies
Q. What about side sleeping?
A. To keep your baby safest when he or she is sleeping, always
use the back sleep position rather than the side position.
Babies who sleep on their sides can roll onto their stomachs. A
baby sleeping on his or her stomach is at greater risk of SIDS.
Some infants may have health conditions that require them to
sleep on their stomachs. If you are unsure about the best sleep
position for your baby, be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse.
Some products claim to be designed to keep a baby in one
position. These products havenot been tested for safety and are
Q. Are there times when my baby can be on his or her stomach?
A. Yes, place your baby on his or her stomach for “tummy time,”
when he or she is awake and someone is watching. When the baby
tummy time is good because it helps your baby’s neck and
shoulder muscles get stronger.
Q. Can I bring my baby in bed with me to breastfeed?
A. Bringing your baby into bed could be risky for your baby. An
adult bed usually has a soft mattress and bedding such as
comforters, quilts, and pillows. If you choose to bring your
baby in bed with you to breastfeed, it is safest to return your
baby to his or her crib.** One way to keep your baby close to
you is by having the baby’s crib in the room with you.
**If you do not have a crib, check with your state health
department about a crib donation program.
What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is the sudden
and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age. Because
many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, some people call SIDS
“crib death.” But, cribs do not cause SIDS.
Facts About SIDS
Doctors and nurses do not know what causes SIDS, but they do
SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies after 1 month of
age to 1 year of age.
Most SIDS deaths happen in babies under 6 months old.
Babies placed to sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to
die of SIDS than babies placed on their backs to sleep.
Babies are more likely to die of SIDS if they are placed to
sleep on top of soft bedding or if they are covered by soft
African American babies are 2 times more likely to die of SIDS
than white babies.
American Indian babies are almost 3 times more likely to die of
SIDS than white babies.
Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of
SIDS, there are some things that you can do to make your baby
What Can I Do to Help Lower the Risk of SIDS?
Always place your baby on his or her Back to Sleep, even for
naps. This is the safest sleep position for a healthy baby to
reduce the risk of SIDS.
Place your baby on a firm mattress, such as in a safety-approved
crib. Research has shown that placing a baby to sleep on soft
mattresses, sofas, sofa cushions, waterbeds, sheepskins, or
other soft surfaces greatly increases the risk of SIDS.
Remove soft, fluffy and loose bedding and stuffed toys from your
baby’s sleep area. Make sure you keep all pillows, quilts,
stuffed toys, and other soft items away from your baby’s sleep
Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows to place your
baby on his or her back to sleep and about the dangers of soft
Talk to childcare providers, grandparents, babysitters and all
caregivers about SIDS risk. Remember, every sleep time counts.
So, for the least risk, remind every caregiver to place your
baby on his or her back to sleep on firm bedding at both
nighttime and naptime.
Make sure your baby’s face and head stay uncovered during sleep.
Keep blankets and other coverings away from your baby’s mouth
and nose. The best way to do this is to dress your baby in sleep
clothing so you will not have to use any other covering over the
baby. If you do use a blanket or another covering, make sure
that the baby’s feet are at the bottom of the crib, the blanket
is no higher than the baby’s chest, and the blanket is tucked in
around the bottom of the crib mattress.
Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don’t smoke before or
after the birth of your baby and make sure no one smokes around
Don’t let your baby get too warm during sleep. Keep your baby
warm during sleep, but not too warm. Your baby’s room should be
at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many
layers of clothing or blankets can overheat your baby.
Babies Sleep Safest on Their Backs.
One of the easiest ways to lower the risk of SIDS is to put your
baby on his or her Back to Sleep, even for naps. Until a few
several years ago, doctors told mothers to place babies on their
stomachs to sleep. Research now shows that fewer babies die of
SIDS when they sleep on their backs.
If you use a blanket, place the baby with his or her feet at the
foot of the crib. The blanket should reach no higher than the
baby’s chest and the ends of the blanket should be tucked under
the crib mattress.