What is a safe sleep environment?

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There are approximately 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies in the United States every year. In order to reduce the risk of suffocation Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, aka SIDS, or other sleep-related infant deaths, it’s recommended that children sleep in a safe sleep environment for every sleep.

What is a safe sleep environment?

  • A safe sleep environment consists of a crib, pack-n-play, or bassinet that is designed specifically for safe infant sleep.
  • It will be a firm, flat surface free of suffocation risks such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, toys, and crib bumpers.

Other recommendations to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths in babies include:

  • No co-sleeping. Room-sharing is fine.
  • Place baby on their back every sleep. Do not place baby on their stomach to sleep.
  • No other people or pets in the bed with the baby. Baby should be alone.
  • No soft bedding. A fitted sheet is fine over a firm mattress.
  • Don’t sleep holding the baby.
  • No toys or stuffed animals with baby.
  • Do not use the car seat for sleep.

If your baby can roll over to their stomach on their own, that’s okay, continue to place them on their back. Swaddling is safe until baby can roll over independently. At that point, stop swaddling baby. They will need their arms free to push off and lift their head when they roll over. Sleep sacks are safe to use.

Just remember, A-B-C.

  • Baby should sleep ALONE
  • On their BACK
  • In a CRIB (or other safe sleep environment)

Be sure to share this information with all your child’s caregivers to keep your child safe for every sleep. 


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development