Reduce the Risk

Every baby deserves the safest sleep--you can reduce the risk for SIDS and possibly prevent accidental sleep related death:

  • Infants should ALWAYS be placed flat on their back alone in a safe crib for ALL sleep-naps and nighttime.  If baby falls asleep in a swing, car seat, bouncy chair, or other surface while at home or in a childcare setting, immediately remove baby and place them flat on their back in a safety approved crib.  Sitting devices are NOT recommended for routine sleep.

  • A firm mattress in a safety approved crib, covered by a tight fitting sheet made for that mattress, is the recommended sleep surface for baby.

  • Keep ALL soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib.  Items such as pillows, blankets, bumper pads, wedges, blanket rolls, and toys create an opportunity for baby to re-breathe carbon dioxide that may build up around baby's face. 
  • Bumper pads should not be used in cribs.  There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of an accidental death such as suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.

  • Consider a wearable blanket (sleep sack) or sleeper to keep baby comfortable and to eliminate the risk of baby's head becoming covered.

  • Provide a nicotine free environment, both in your home AND vehicle, for baby - before and after birth.  If odor from second hand smoke is detectable on clothing or bedding, research shows toxins are still present that can be harmful to baby.

  • To avoid overheating, baby should be lightly clothed for sleep and the room temperature should be kept cool and comfortable to a lightly clothed adult.

  • Breastfeeding, if exclusive is protective against SIDS/SUID, but any breastfeeding is better than none, and is recommended.

  • Parents may share a room with baby but NEVER a bed! A separate but close sleeping area is recommended.  Sleeping with a baby in a bed, couch, recliner, or other sleep surfaces with adults or other children is NOT SAFE!

  • Pacifier use at naps and nighttime is recommended for the first year of life.  For breastfed infants, delay the use of a pacifier until breastfeeding is established.

  • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care and all infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.

  • Keep baby's crib free of all soft bedding, wedges, and other positioning devices.  The use of home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID are not recommended.
  • Encourage supervised tummy time when baby is awake to assist in developing head and neck control and to reduce the risk of baby developing flat spots on the back of his or her head. 

  • Educate anyone caring for your baby about these risk reduction recommendations developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


NOTE: The 2011 AAP recommendations warned against potentially hazardous situations which might cause accidental deaths such as suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.  This is NOT to suggest SIDS/SUID is due to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment, but rather to broaden the scope of the recommendations to address other unsafe infant sleep environments.  After all, the overall goal is to prevent infant deaths, whatever the cause.  It is important to note that these 2011 recommendations do not suggest that SIDS/SUID is due to these accidental causes, but some infant deaths are, and it is important to try to reduce their numbers as well as reducing SIDS/SUID.  (California SIDS Newsletter, Dr. Thomas Keens.)