Keeping Baby Safe at Home

Tips for Parents and Caregivers of NICU Graduates

The rule is easy: "Stomach to Play and Back to Sleep" for your baby's healthy development and to reduce the risk of SIDS

Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

These past weeks or months may have felt like an emotional roller-coaster ride since your baby arrived. Now that your baby's health has improved, leaving the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and going home is a time of joy and anticipation. Every parent worries about SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as "crib death."

What is SIDS?

SIDS is the unexpected death of a seemingly healthy infant under one year of age, for whom no cause of death can be found. A SIDS diagnosis is based on an autopsy, an investigation of the place where a baby died, and a review of the baby's health history.

What Causes SIDS?

The causes of SIDS are not clearly understood. Researchers believe there is an underlying medical cause. They are studying babies' development, genetics, and surroundings to find the answers. SIDS is not suffocation.The baby's crib does not cause SIDS, but you will find that it is important to create a safe sleeping place for your baby. We hope this information and these safety tips will help ease your worries about SIDS.

Is Your Baby at Risk for SIDS?

Being born too early and too small (with a low birthweight) does increase a baby's risk of SIDS. That is why it is important for you to know about SIDS and how to reduce the chance of it happening.

Helping Keep Baby Safe -"Stomach to Play...Back To Sleep"

In the NICU while your baby was on the monitor, he or she may have slept on the stomach, side or back depending on medical needs. When your baby is ready for discharge, the transition from hospital to home may include changing how the baby sleeps.

Putting your healthy baby on the "back to sleep" is one of the most important steps you can take to lower the risk of SIDS when you take your baby home. Putting an awake baby on the "stomach to play" promotes healthy development. It helps your baby's neck, arm, and shoulder muscles grow stronger. "Tummy time" allows your awake baby to get exercise and explore the world.

When Should Your Baby Make the Change to Back Sleeping?

Before your baby is discharged from the hospital, talk to your baby's nurse and the doctor about which sleep
position is best for your baby.

Simple Steps Can Help Lower Your Baby's Risk of SIDS

Create a Safe Sleeping Place

Your baby's risk of SIDS goes down when you provide a safe, smoke-free place for your baby to sleep.

The rule is easy" Stomach to Play and Back To Sleep" for your baby's healthy development and to reduce the risk of SIDS

Welcome your new baby home and enjoy!

To learn more


The NC Family Health Resource Line, 1-800-FOR-BABY or 1-800-367-2229, a toll-free, bilingual (English and Spanish) telephone resource for questions about SIDS or other parenting topics.

Visit: to learn about North Carolina's statewide efforts to promote healthy pregnancies and infant health.

Keeping Baby Safe At Home

Checklist for Parents and Caregivers

Emergency: 911 or (fill in the blank)

Doctor: (fill in the blank)

Telephone: (fill in the blank)
Address: (fill in the blank)

Pharmacy: (fill in the blank)

Telephone: (fill in the blank)
Address: (fill in the blank)

Hospital: (fill in the blank)

Telephone: (fill in the blank)
Address: (fill in the blank)

Neighbor: (fill in the blank)

Telephone: (fill in the blank)

Review with Caregivers or Babysitters:

Parenting questions? Call the NC Family Health Resource Line at 1-800-FOR-BABY or 1-800-367-2229

This information is brought to you by the N.C. Back To Sleep Campaign for SIDS Risk Reduction, a program of
the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, and the N.C. Division of Public Health, Women's and Children's Health Section.
15,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $5,760.00 or $.38 each. June, 2001