Safe Sleep

These are the Safe Sleep Top 10 according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):  

  1. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.  
  2. Place your baby on a firm sleep surface such as on a safety approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.  
  3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, or pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby’s sleep area, and keep all objects away from your baby face.  
  4. Don’t allow smoking around your baby. Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don’t let others smoke around your baby.  
  5. Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but he or she can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring your baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or bedside co-sleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed) when finished.  
  6. Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep, but don’t force the baby to take it. (If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is one month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier).  
  7. Don’t let your baby overheat during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.  
  8. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.  
  9. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.  
  10. Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head: provide “Tummy Time,” when your baby is awake and someone is watching; change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in care seats, carriers, and bouncers.

What is SIDS?

SIDs stands for sudden infant death syndrome. This term describes the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year of age.

Some people call SIDS “crib death,” because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs. However, cribs don’t cause SIDS.  

What should I know about SIDS?

 Health care providers don’t know exactly what causes SIDS, but they do know:  

The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.

  • Babies sleep safer on their backs. Babies who sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their backs.
  • Sleep surface matters. Babies who sleep on or under soft bedding are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Every sleep time counts. Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed on their stomachs, like for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS. So it’s important for everyone who cares for your baby to use the back sleep position for naps and at night.
  • Communities across the nation have made great progress in reducing SIDS! Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994, the SIDS rate among African Americans has declined by nearly 50 percent.

Nevertheless, SIDS continues to be a very serious issue. In Cuyahoga County over the last 5 years…

  • 126 babies died while sleeping
  • 78 were in an unsafe sleep environment
  • 63 were sleeping with at least one other person
  • 19 were not sleeping on their back
  • 58 were in a sleep area with hazards such as loose blankets, pillows, and toys