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Safe Sleep Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I reduce my baby's chances of dying from a sleep-related injury?

The best way to reduce your baby's risk of a sleep-related injury death is to place them —day or night – to sleep alone, on their back, on a firm mattress and in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard. Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet only and do not place loose blankets, pillows, toys or bumper pads in the sleep area. To check if your crib meets safety standards, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 800-638-2772.

I have poor heating in my apartment, and I don't want my baby to be cold in their crib. How do I keep them warm if I don't sleep with them or cover them with a blanket?

If you are worried about your baby getting cold, dress them in a wearable blanket, such as a sleep sack, or in another layer of infant clothing. In general, your baby should be dressed with only one more layer than what you are wearing. If your landlord does not address the heating issue, call 311 for help or visit the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development's website for more information.

My mother shared a bed with me when I was a baby, with no problem. Why should I do anything differently for my baby?

What we know about sharing a sleep surface with babies has changed over the years. In the past, many sleep-related injury deaths were thought to be caused by SIDS (a natural cause of death). Now we know that many babies die from accidental suffocation while sleeping in unsafe spaces, especially when sharing a bed with another person. These deaths are mostly preventable.

I don't drink or use drugs, so aren't I less likely to smother my baby in bed?

No. Innocent mistakes can happen. Even parents who do not drink or use drugs can accidently smother their babies in bed. Bed-sharing can be dangerous, no matter what your condition is.

How can I breastfeed my baby in the middle of the night if I can't bring him into bed with me?

Parents are encouraged to have the baby's crib right next to their bed. You may bring your baby into bed with you for feeding or for comfort. However, it is important for you to place your baby back in their own crib before you fall asleep.

Car seats are safety approved. Can they also be a safe place for my baby to sleep?

No. Because babies don't lie flat in car seats, they can suffocate when their heads (which are very heavy compared to the rest of their bodies), tip forward, blocking their airway.

What if my baby rolls onto his stomach while he's sleeping? Do I need to put him on his back again?

Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby's growth. Most babies start rolling over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age. If your baby rolls onto their stomach on their own during sleep, you do not need to turn them over onto their back. The important thing is for them to start off on their back.

However, swaddled babies are at high risk for suffocation if they roll onto their stomachs. Stop swaddling babies as soon as they start trying to roll. This usually begins at around 2 months of age.

What can I do to protect my sleeping baby from mice, cockroaches and other pests?

Keep your baby's crib free of any food or drink that may attract pests. Crib netting may also provide some protection. For more on how to control pests safely, visit and search for "pests." If you have pest problems in your home, and your landlord does not correct them, call 311 for help.