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Infant Safe Sleep/SIDS
After baby arrives

Help Baby Sleep Safely!

For the next few months, your newborn will spend most of his or her time sleeping. Other than the cost of a crib, creating a safe sleep place does not require special equipment. Bumper pads, sleep position wedges or special pillows are not needed. The Opens in new windowConsumer Product Safety Commission does not recommend their use.

Reducing the risk of SIDS continues after your baby is born. Make sure your baby develops healthy and safe sleep habits from the beginning. Share this list with grandparents, babysitters or others that will be caring for your baby.

Safe Sleep Habits

  1. Always place healthy babies on their backs for nighttime sleep and for naps.
  2. Letting babies sleep on their backs has other advantages besides lowering their chances of SIDS. Research shows that babies who sleep on their backs have:
    • Fewer colds
    • Fewer ear infections
    • Fewer fevers
  3. Use a sleep place like a crib, bassinet or playpen designed for babies - do not sleep with the baby in your bed
  4. Never put your sleeping baby on pillows, cushions, sofas or loose bedding
  5. Keep excess bedding, toys, stuffed animals and pillows out of the crib while baby sleeps
  6. Do not cover the crib or your baby's face with blankets
  7. Don't allow older siblings to sleep with your baby
  8. Prevent overheating. Keep room temperature between 68°F and 72°F and never more than 75°F
  9. Make sure your baby breathes air that is smoke free, don't allow anyone to smoke near your baby or in your home or car
  10. Breastfeed your baby, then put him to sleep in his own safe sleep place

Using a Baby Blanket

When using a blanket, practice Opens in new windowthe feet-to-foot guideline. Tucking the blanket under the crib mattress helps keep the blanket from becoming loose and covering the baby's head. (If the guidelines take too long to download, try the Opens in new windowplain text version.)

  • Position the baby so his feet are near the foot of the crib
  • Place a lightweight blanket across the baby's chest just under the arm pits
  • Tuck the blanket in securely along the two sides and foot of the crib

Try These Nursery Make-Over Tips

  • Liven up a bare-looking crib with colorful, printed fitted sheets
  • Hang a colorful quilt on the wall instead of using it in the crib
  • A bed skirt hanging below the bottom of the crib railing to the floor and secured beneath the mattress is a decorative touch to add a splash of color and hide baby items stored underneath the crib
  • Fasten a mobile to the crib footboard, up and out of baby's reach or hang it from the ceiling

Other Links

North Carolina


HEALTHYCHILDREN.ORG a new parenting Web site from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  The site includes general information related to child health plus more specific guidance on parenting issues and is promoted as "the only parenting Web site backed by 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults." 

Opens in new windowConsumer Product Safety Commission - Information about safe bedding practices for infants

Opens in new windowDanny Foundation - For crib and child product safety information, visit this Web site or call toll-free 1-800-833-2669 (1-800-83DANNY)

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Last updated: May 2014

View this page in Spanish

Text4baby link

More Info

Infant Safe Sleep Webisodes
Each webisode is a short video with detailed information to educate parents, caregivers and professionals about infant safe sleep.

My Carolina Today - Infant Safe Sleep Segments(NBC-17) Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator, Marta Pirzadeh explains exactly what SIDS is and how to reduce the risk for your baby.

Back to Sleep information sheet
How to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS
Opens in new window PDF version (344 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Baby's Safe Sleep flyer/fotonovela
Mom explains to grandma why babies should be on their backs when they sleep. Share with family members and caregivers.
Opens in new window PDF version (297 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Baby's Safe Sleep poster
Steps to follow to safely put a baby to bed
Opens in new window PDF version (72 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Keeping Baby Safe at Home
Safe sleep tips for babies from Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Opens in new window PDF version (161 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Oh Baby! We want to keep you safe from secondhand smoke
Tips for dealing with secondhand smoke
Opens in new window PDF version (247 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

Taking Care of Me
This self-help guide gives postpartum women practical health tips on emotional health, stress, nutrition, exercise, family planning and reproductive health, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Opens in new window PDF version (488 KB)*
Opens in new window Plain text version

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*If the PDF download time is too slow, try the plain text version. If your computer can't open the PDF version, download Opens in new windowa FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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