Creating a Safe Sleep Environment – Remember the ABCs
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby under a year old. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants between one month and one year of age, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
SIDS is sudden and silent, and may happen to a baby who seems perfectly healthy. SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” because it is associated with babies sleeping. Cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, but the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.
Although there is no definitive way to prevent SIDS, there are ways to reduce risk. One way is to create a safe sleep environment at home. Start by following the ABCs.
Alone. Always let your baby sleep alone. Never let your baby sleep in a bed with another person where the baby could be smothered.
Back. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, never on his or her stomach or side.
Crib. Always put your baby to sleep in a crib with only a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet.
In addition to the ABCs, you can help reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death with these tips:
Keep toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of the crib. Stuffed animals and toys are great when your baby is awake, but keep them and other objects out of the crib. Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, or crib bumpers anywhere in baby’s sleep area.
Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Room sharing can reduce the risk of sleep-related causes of infant death. Allow baby to sleep in his or her crib, not in an adult bed, couch, or chair alone, or with you.
Give your baby a dry pacifier. For naps and at night, give your baby a dry pacifier, not attached to a string, but don’t force the baby to take the pacifier. If the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth during sleep, you do not need to replace it.
Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep. Dress your baby in no more than one layer of clothing and leave the blanket out of the crib. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. If you notice your baby sweating or breathing rapidly, he or she may be too warm.
Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. These products are often not tested for safety or effectiveness.
Give your baby plenty of Tummy Time. Tummy time is important for baby when he or she is awake. Supervised tummy time allows baby to build strength in their neck, shoulders, and arms. It also helps prevent flat spots on the back of baby’s head.
Don’t allow smoking around your baby. Reduce the risk of SIDS by not smoking during pregnancy and don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.