Health Library
Safe Sleep

How Can You Help Your Baby Have Safe Sleep?

What are the A,B,C’s of Safe Sleep?

Alone: Share your room, not your bed.

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed.
  • Place baby’s crib or bassinet in your bedroom instead of letting baby sleep in the same bed with you, other children, or anyone else.
  • Parents or caregivers should never nap on a couch or chair while holding a baby to eliminate the risk of baby becoming trapped or smothered

Back: Always place baby on their back for naps and at night.

  • Laying your baby on their back to sleep reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Stomach-sleeping babies are more likely to rebreathe their own exhaled air resulting in carbon dioxide buildup and decreased oxygen levels potentially leading to suffocation.
  • Stomach-sleeping babies can lack good head-lifting abilities resulting in baby sleeping face down. Sleeping face down can decrease a baby’s oxygen-rich air supply and increase the risk of suffocation. Stomach-sleeping babies are more likely to overheat, experience unexpected drops in their blood pressure and suffer with the ability to control their heart rate-all contributing factors to an increased risk of SIDS.
  • Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffocate or choke.

Crib: Always put your child to sleep in a crib or bassinet.

  • A crib with only a snug, firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet is best.
  • There should be nothing in the crib/bassinet with baby- no toys, stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, crib bumpers or sleep positioners.
  • Sleep clothing, such as swaddles, sleep sacs, footed onesies, and appropriate-sized sleepers are safer for babies than blankets.
  • Never place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, air mattresses, pillows, cushions, or soft surfaces.
  • Baby should not sleep for long stretches in any product that is not a crib or bassinet. Swings, car seats, strollers and bouncers should not be used as a dedicated sleeping space.

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.
  • Make sure all crib hardware is tightly in place to prevent crib from collapsing, trapping or suffocating baby.
  • Avoid cribs with decorative cut-outs in headboard/footboard to reduce risk of head or limbs becoming trapped as baby increases activity.
  • 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 sides of crib go down, make sure the sides latch securely and the latches cannot be released by baby as activity increases.
  • Corner posts of the crib should not stick up more than one-sixteenth of an inch or have sharp edges.
  • If you are getting a used crib, check to see if it has been recalled at
  • Avoid placing a crib, bed, highchair or playpen near windows, draperies, blinds, or wall-mounted decorative accessories with cords.
  • Mobiles or toys with strings longer than 7 inches should not be hanging above crib.
  • Mobiles should be removed when baby begins to push-up on hands and knees.

Last Updated 03/2022

Reviewed By Dawne Gardner

Visiting Cincinnati Childrens.

Cincinnati Children’s has primary care services at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.