Health Library

Safe Sleep

How Can You Help Your Baby Have Safe Sleep?

Practice the ABC’s of Safe Sleep − Alone, Back, Crib.


Share the room but not the bed.

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed
  • Parents or caregivers should never nap on a couch or chair while holding their baby.
  • Never place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, cushions or soft surfaces.


Lay your baby on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

  • Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffocate or choke.
  • When a baby is in a deep sleep and needs to take a deep breath or wake up, their airway may be blocked by the mattress or loose bedding or covered in some other way, so they are at more risk for suffocation.


An empty crib is best.

  • Bumper pads and sleep positioning wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby.
  • Soft bedding can block a baby’s airway during sleep. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to make your baby sleep like a baby.
  • Sleep clothing, such as fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are safer for baby than blankets.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals should not be placed in the crib with the baby.

Crib Safety

  • Crib safety.Check that your crib meets safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), and make sure it has all the right pieces.
  • If you can fit a can of soda between the slats of a crib, that means a child’s head, hand or foot could get stuck.
  • If the sides go down, don’t use the crib.
  • Corner posts of the crib should not stick up more than one-sixteenth of an inch.
  • Check to make sure there are no design cutouts in the headboard or footboard.
  • If you are getting a used crib, check to see if it has been recalled at this website.
  • Avoid placing a crib, bed, high chair or playpen near windows, draperies, blinds, or wall-mounted decorative accessories with cords.

Last Updated 04/2018

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