Safe Sleep

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Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden death of a baby younger than 1 year old from no immediately obvious cause. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area. Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness provides families with information on preventing SUID through safe sleep practices.

The three commonly reported types of SUID include:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – Unexplained death, usually during sleep
  • Unknown cause
  • Accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed

How to Reduce the Risk of SUID

  • Use the “ABC” method for sleep: Alone, on their Back, in a Crib.
  • Do not place pillows, blankets, crib bumpers or toys like stuffed animals in the crib.
  • The baby should sleep on a firm, flat sleep surface with no incline.
  • Do not use weighted blankets, weighted sleep sacks, weighted swaddles or any other weighted objects on or near the baby’s sleep surface.
  • Share the room, not the bed!
  • Stop swaddling your baby when they show signs of rolling.
  • Keep up to date with immunizations as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Have your baby use a pacifier during sleep.
  • Breastfeed or provide expressed breast milk during the baby’s first six months unless you are unable or your doctor tells you not to.
  • Do not smoke around the baby, in their room or, ideally, in the house.
  • Make sure your baby gets “tummy time” when they are awake and someone is watching.

Create a Safe Sleep Environment for Baby: ABC Method for Sleep

Creating a safe sleep environment for baby can reduce the risk for SUID. Always putting babies to sleep in a safe way is key to preventing SUID. The current recommendation for safe sleep for infants is the “ABC” method:

  • Alone – Stay close, sleep apart
    • It is not safe for baby to sleep with people, pillows, stuffed toys, comforters, bumper pads, etc.
    • Baby needs their own safe sleep space.
  • Back – Place baby on their back for naps and overnight.
  • Crib – Keep the crib clean and clear.
    • Do not let baby sleep on a couch, bean bag or adult bed.
    • Do not use an infant car seat carrier or any baby device with an upright seating position for sleep.

Other safe sleep tips include:

  • Baby’s sleep area is in the same room as a parent or caregiver.
  • To prevent the baby from overheating, keep the room temperature between 68 and 75 degrees
  • Use a firm and flat surface in a crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Dress your baby in breathable sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket.
  • Home cardiorespiratory monitors (that are not prescribed by a doctor) should not be used in place of safe sleep recommendations. There is no evidence that these reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID.

Eliminate Unsafe Sleeping Conditions for Your Baby

  • Do not allow your baby to sleep with other children or adults, either in a bed or on a sofa or chair.
  • Do not let baby sleep in a car seat or other baby products, such as strollers or swings, in an upright position. The baby’s head can fall forward during sleep, which can cause difficulty breathing or suffocation. Car seats and other baby products are not safe for naps or overnight sleep.
  • Place your baby to sleep on their back — never on their stomach.
  • Do not use a blanket, sheepskin, bumper or comforter in the sleep area with your baby.
  • Do not put soft objects, toys or loose bedding in your baby’s sleep area. Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
  • Do not place pillows in the crib with your baby or put your baby to sleep on a pillow.
  • Do not smoke in your home.

For more safety tips for babies, toddlers and elementary school-age children, register for our “Safe Baby”, “Safe Toddler” and/or “Safe Grandparenting” classes.

To watch videos on the importance of practicing safe sleep for your baby, visit

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