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Stay Close. Sleep Apart.

Creating a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Infant

Recommendations to reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Approximately 80% of all infant deaths in NYC due to injury are considered sleep-related, or related to the infant’s sleep position and environment.

The number of infant deaths from a sleep-related injury in NYC has not changed significantly in the past several years -- every year, on average, 48 infants die from a sleep-related injury.

The following recommendations to reduce the risk of a sleep-related death have been adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Tummy Time
    Every day, provide supervised, awake tummy time for your baby. Tummy time helps promote muscle development and coordination.
    Always place your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep (naptime and bedtime)
    • Your baby should be placed entirely on his back; side sleeping is not recommended 
    • Note that once your infant can roll from back to stomach and from stomach to back (usually around 4 to 6 months), she can remain in the sleep position that she assumes 
  • Use a firm crib mattress and tightly fitted sheet specifically designed for your crib
    • Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that has been approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
    • Never put your baby to sleep on an adult bed, bouncy seat, infant swing, car safety seat, sofa, couch, futon, waterbed, sheepskin, or other soft mattress—not even for a nap.
  • Nothing but your baby should be in the crib
    • No pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects should be in the crib
  • Never sleep in the same bed, sofa or other surface as your baby (sometimes referred to as bed-sharing)
  • Sleeping in the same room as your baby (sometimes referred to as room-sharing) is recommended
    • Place the crib or bassinet near your bed to make it easier to feed, bond with and monitor your baby
    • Breastfeeding mothers should place their baby back into the crib before going to sleep
  • Avoid smoke exposure and alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth
  • Breastfeeding is recommended, as it reduces the risk of SIDS
    • Babies fed only breast milk receive the greatest protection against SIDS, but any breastfeeding is more protective against SIDS than no breastfeeding.
  • Consider offering your baby a pacifier at naptime and bedtime
    • The pacifier should not be attached to infant clothing or stuffed toys due to the risk of strangulation
    • For breastfed infants, delay pacifier use until breastfeeding has been firmly established, usually by 3 to 4 weeks of age
  • Avoid overheating
    • In general, infants should be dressed appropriately for the environment, with no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment
    • Check your baby for signs of overheating, such as sweating or your baby’s chest feels hot to the touch

For additional information:

American Academy of Pediatrics

B’more for Healthy Babies

Cribs for Kids

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


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