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The Center for Children's Health

Safe Baby Sleep

Infant sleeping

Protect your baby while he or she is sleeping. There's nothing sweeter or more peaceful than a sleeping baby. But how do you know if he or she is sleeping safely?

In fact, 3,500 infants die each year in the U.S. due to sleep related deaths. Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children less than 1 year old. Many of these deaths are due to unsafe sleeping situations that lead to unintentional suffocation.


What to know

Video: Safe sleep tips
Video: Co-sleeping dangers

As parents and caregivers, we know you want to do everything it takes to protect your baby.

  • Safe sleep environments encourage healthy habits for both baby and caregivers.
  • Babies may sleep in the same room as the parents (room-sharing), but not in the same bed (bed-sharing).
  • After feedings, the mother should return the baby to their separate bed before falling asleep.
  • Babies age 0-12 months should sleep in a safety-approved crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet at night and during naps.
  • Always place your baby on their back for every sleep time. Side and stomach sleeping are not safe for infants who can't roll over.
  • Babies should sleep on firm surfaces with tightly fitted sheets.
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used unless approved by a physician.
  • To keep your baby warm while sleeping, use a sleep sack or long-sleeved onesie. Body temperatures heat up faster in babies than adults, so extra layers are not needed. Visit How do I keep my baby safe and warm? for recommendations on how to dress infants based on temperature in the home.
  • Car seats, infant swings, and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • There are many ways to bond with your baby, such as feeding, bath time, playing, comforting, and eye contact.
  • For those that are able to breastfeed, it is shown to be protective against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Bottle feeding can be an additional bonding opportunity, not only for mom, but for dad and all other caregivers.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime, as this also can lower risk of SIDS, and helps baby to self-soothe.
  • Recommended vaccines are encouraged for all infants and children.
  • Daily, supervised, awake tummy time helps with development and minimizes the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, may lead to developmental concerns.
  • Home monitors and commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS are not recommended because they often provide a false sense of security for caregivers.

*If you would like more detail or to see the scientific studies that led to these recommendations, read the full American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement. Also, visit the US Department of Health and Human Service's safe sleep program for further information.

Do you know of a new or expectant mom you want to share this information with? To use our messaging, all you have to do is copy the messages we've provided below and insert the appropriate photo into whichever social media site you use. We do ask that you keep #safesleep in the message.

Babies should always sleep on their backs

Babies should always sleep on their backs.

Always place your baby on their back every time they sleep in their crib, until they are old enough to roll over on their own. When sleeping on their tummies, they are at risk for suffocation. #safesleep

There should be no items in the bed with your baby

There should be no items in the bed with your baby.

Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed toys and bumper pads. All these items all can cause baby to suffocate, if they are not unable to move yet on their own. #safesleep

Use a sleep sack instead of a blanket

There should be no items in the bed with your baby.

Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed toys and bumper pads. All these items all can cause baby to suffocate, if they are not unable to move yet on their own. #safesleep

Use a sleep sack instead of swaddling

Worried about your baby being cold? Use a sleep sack instead of a blanket.

To keep your baby warm at night, use a sleep sack or long-sleeved onesie rather than blankets or swaddling. #safesleep

Car seats are not safe places for babies to nap

Car seats are not safe places for babies to nap.

Always keep your baby properly buckled up in their car seat. Otherwise, they could move into a position while sleeping where they could suffocate. #safesleep http://bit.ly/carseatnap

Put your baby to bed first

Feeling sleepy? Put your baby to bed first.

Being a new mom is exhausting. If you feel yourself dozing off while holding your baby, make sure to put him or her in their crib first. Otherwise, your baby could accidentally suffocate as you both move around while you sleep. #safesleep

Room share, don't bed share

Room share, don't bed share.

Sharing a room with your baby in the first months helps to keep them safe and makes it easier for breast feeding. However, make sure that they are sleeping alone in their crib. Bed sharing can lead to accidental suffocation. #safesleep

Room share, don't bed share

Use a sleep sack instead of swaddling.

Swaddling can cause respiratory infections, hip dysplasia, overheating and accidental suffocation. #safesleep

3,500 infants die annually in the U.S. from sleep-related deaths

3,500 infants die annually in the U.S. from sleep-related deaths.

Keep your baby safe by following safe infant sleep recommendations. Click here to view the AAP recommendations for safe sleep. #safesleep

Beginning in October 2015 the Center for Children's Health, led by Cook Children’s collaborated with partners healthcare systems to begin a citywide safe infant sleep awareness campaign. This has since grown into the Safe Baby Sleep Council, led by Cook Children’s and supported by partners across our community. To learn how your organization can partner with the Safe Baby Sleep Council please email Samantha St. John.

Safe Baby Sleep Council partner organizations:

  • Alliance For Children
  • Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth
  • Cook Children's
  • The City of Fort Worth
  • Fort Worth Fire Department
  • John Peter Smith Health Network
  • Lake Granbury Medical Center
  • Tarrant County Public Health
  • Tarrant Baptist Association
  • Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth

Want a presentation done in your community or to your staff? Submit this request form or email Samantha St. John to find out more.


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Questions or comments

If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email Samantha St. John.