Is your baby sleeping safely?

By Jean Turunen, PHN  Langlade County Health Department

You feel you are ready for your new baby to come home.  The baby’s room is decorated so cute-everything matching from the wall color to the crib with matching comforter, blankets, bumper pads, and stuffed animals.  The baby will be so comfortable.  Are you the parent that can’t wait to sleep with their baby to protect them, keep them warm, and be close in case the baby needs something?  Both situations place your baby at risk for injury, suffocation, or even death.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Back to Sleep Campaign recommend that babies under 1 year of age be placed on their backs to sleep.  Why?  To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and injury to the baby.  Babies younger than 1 year are at highest risk of SIDS.

Since the start of the Back to Sleep Campaign in 1994, the number of babies dying of SIDS has decreased by more than 50 percent.    Why does back sleeping help lower the risk of SIDS?    Sleeping on the back keeps babies mouths open and noses unblocked so they can breathe fresh air and do not overheat.   Babies should always sleep on their backs and never on soft surfaces such as pillows, cushions, sheepskins, or quilts: or on sofas, chairs, or waterbeds.  Babies should not sleep together with an adult or another child on the same sleeping surface.  Sleeping on soft surfaces or sleeping with another person increases the chances of suffocation.  SIDS and suffocation are the leading causes of death in babies 1 to 12 months of age.

Is your baby sleeping safely?  Remember these ABC’s of safe sleep:

A= Alone

Keep your baby’s sleep area close but separate from where others sleep.  Your baby should NOT sleep with others in a bed, on a couch, or in a chair.

    B=on the Back

Baby should be placed on his or her back in a safety-approved crib on a firm mattress every time they are put to sleep.

C= in an uncluttered Crib

Remove all loose bedding, comforters, quilts, stuffed animals, bumpers, wedges, and pillows from your baby’s crib

ALONE on the BACK in a CRIB

Remembering the ABC’s will keep your baby in a safe sleep environment.  SIDS and suffocation are the leading causes of death in babies 1 to 12 months of age.  What else can we do to decrease the risk of SIDS?

*Enjoy cuddling baby when awake, but don’t fall asleep together while holding the baby

*Make sure baby is not too warm-keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.


*Offer your baby a pacifier (once breastfeeding has been established)

*Nothing should be in the crib but your baby

*Use a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet

*Avoid alcohol or illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth

*Use light sleep clothing like a one-piece sleeper instead of loose blankets.

*Keep babies head uncovered during sleep

*Room-share without bed-sharing (parents should not share a bed with a baby)

*Don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby, in your home, or in the car.

*Talk to those that will be taking care of your baby to make sure they understand about safe sleep and what works best to help your baby fall asleep on their back EVERY TIME.

Don’t forget “tummy time” for your baby.  Healthy babies need tummy time when awake to help develop strong muscles.  Place baby on tummy on a firm, safe surface, and play together or stay nearly to keep the baby safe.

Bringing home baby is one of the most memorable and special times of your life.  Decorating the babies’ room can also be a special time-be creative in decorating around the room while keeping the crib a safe place for sleep.  Be sure the baby is coming home to a safe sleep environment by remembering the ABC’s of safe sleep.

For more information on this and other topics visit: American Academy of Pediatrics

Back to Sleep Campaign:




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