More than 3,500 sudden, unexpected infant deaths occur each year. Research shows that up to 90% of these deaths are accidental due to placing babies to sleep in unsafe sleeping environments. THESE DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE.
To prevent sleep-related deaths due to unsafe sleeping environments, Cribs for Kids®, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and most safe sleep experts recommend these guidelines:
#1 The safest way for your baby to sleep is Alone (no bed-sharing), on the Back, in a safety-approved Crib with no pillows, no bumper pads, no stuffed animals, and no comforters.
#2 The baby’s crib should be in the parents’ room, if possible. Room-share, don’t bed-share!
- Railings that are not more than 2⅜ inches apart. (You should not be able to fit a soda can through them.)
- A firm mattress that fits snugly in the frame.
- A fitted sheet that is tight around the mattress.
- No quilts, comforters, duvets, heavy blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads, sheepskins, etc. These items can obstruct the baby’s breathing. A wearable blanket is recommended.
#3 Take care of yourself and your baby – Eat well and see your doctor regularly; get all required immunizations for your baby.
#4 Do not overheat or overdress your baby – If you’re comfortable, baby is comfortable. Don’t overheat or overdress your baby. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult (between 68-72 degrees F).
#5 No smoking around baby – There should be no smoking near pregnant women or infants. This goes for you and anyone else around your baby. Smoke increases the risk of an unsafe sleep environment and other health problems. Set strict rules for smoke free homes and cars and eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke from all places in which children and other nonsmokers spend time.
#6 Breastfeed your baby if you can – Breastfed babies have less colds and ear infections.
#7 Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime once breastfeeding has been established.
#8 DO NOT BED-SHARE – The act of bringing an infant into a sleep environment with adults, other children, or pets puts the baby in danger of suffocating, either by being smothered in bedding; by positional asphyxia, which occurs when a baby’s position prevents them person from breathing adequately; or by being accidentally rolled over by a sleeping companion (overlay). A BABY WHO BED-SHARES IS AT 40 TIMES GREATER RISK OF DYING.
#9 ROOM-SHARE – Babies should sleep on a close, but separate, surface in the same room as the caregiver. The AAP recommends that a parent and infant sleep within a “sensory” distance of each other, meaning that each can tell that the other is near, by their touch, sight, or even smell.
#10 Tummy Time – Tummy time is for babies who are awake and being watched. Your baby needs this to develop strong muscles.
Your baby’s crib should have:
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