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Infant Safe Sleep/SIDS
Tips to Reduce the Risk of Sleep Related Infant Death and SIDS

Is the room your baby sleeps in safe?Drawing of a nursery
Click Here
to learn what you can do to make the room your baby sleeps in is as safe as can be. 

Before Baby is Born

  • Do not smoke or expose yourself to others' smoke while you are pregnant and after the baby is born.

  • Do not drink alcohol or use drugs while pregnant or after the birth.

  • Get regular prenatal checkups to reduce your risk of having a low birth weight or premature baby.

Safe Sleep Practice (for babies ages 0-1)

  • Place your baby to sleep on his back for naps and at night. If your baby is strong enough to roll from his back to his side or stomach on his own, he can be left in that position.

  • If your baby falls asleep in a car safety seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or infant sling she should be moved to a crib or bassinet as soon as possible.

  • Breastfeed as much and for as long as you can. Studies show that breastfeeding your baby can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Exclusive breastfeeding is best, but any breast milk is better than none.

  • Go to all scheduled doctor visits and make sure your baby receives all recommended shots. Evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS.

  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. This helps to reduce the risk of SIDS. If breastfeeding, wait at least 4 weeks until breastfeeding is established before offering a pacifier. If baby does not take a pacifier, do not force it.

  • Dress your baby in no more than one more layer than you would wear. Your baby may be too hot if she is sweating or if her chest feels hot. If your baby is cold, use infant sleep clothing designed to keep babies warm without the risk of covering their heads.

  • Do not use home breathing or heart monitors to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Home monitors can be helpful for babies with breathing or heart problems but have not been found to reduce the risk of SIDS.

  • Do not use products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Products such as wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and specialized sleep surfaces have not be shown to reduce the risk of SIDS and some infants have suffocated using these products.

  • If you decide to use a blanket, make sure it is tucked into the crib mattress to keep it from becoming loose and covering your baby's face.  The "feet-to-foot" guidelines: [1] position the baby so his feet are near the foot of the crib [2] place a lightweight blanket across the baby's chest just under the arm pits [3] tuck the blanket in securely along the two sides and foot of the crib.

Safe Sleep Environment

  • Place your baby to sleep in a safe crib, bassinet or portable crib. Never let your baby sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion or anywhere else. A safe crib must meet all requirements outlined below:

    Cribs should:

    • Have a firm mattress that is the correct size
    • Be less than 10 years old
    • Have slats that are no more than 2 3/8 inches (60mm) apart
    • Be assembled according to manufacturer's instructions

Cribs should NOT:

    • Having missing, broken or loose parts
    • Have chipped, cracked or peeling paint
    • Have a drop side
    • Have corner posts that protrude above the sides of the crib
    • Have cut-out designs in the headboard or footboard

All cribs sold after June 28, 2011 meet current safety standards. Click here for more information:

  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads and stuffed toys out of the crib. These items can cause your baby to suffocate.

  • Place your baby to sleep in the same room where you sleep but not the same bed. Keep the crib or bassinet within an arm's reach of your bed. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at risk of SIDS, suffocation or strangulation and parents can roll onto babies during sleep.

  • Keep your baby away from people who are smoking and places where people smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. However, until you can quit, keep your car and home smoke-free. Do not smoke anywhere near your baby, even if you are outside.

  • Do not let your baby get too hot. Keep the room where your baby sleeps at a comfortable temperature.

Other Links


Opens in new window A parenting Web site from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP )which includes information related to child health and guidance on parenting issues.

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


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Last updated: May 2014


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