Safe Sleep ABCs

Alone. Back. Crib.

Babies should sleep Alone, on the Back, in a Crib. This means a bare crib with no bumper pads, pillows, blankets, quilts, pillows, wedges, or stuffed animals, which can put your baby at risk for suffocation.

By learning and following safe sleep tips, you and those caring for your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) — a sudden, unexplained death of an infant under age 1 — and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) — death caused by suffocation or accidents during sleep.

Here’s how you can lower your baby’s risk of SIDS/SUID:

Do …

  • Place your baby down to sleep “alone.” Sleeping with your baby or allowing other children or pets to do so puts your baby at risk of suffocation.
  • Place baby on his or her “back” for every sleep (both nighttime and naps). Tummy sleep can prevent baby from moving his or her head to take a deep breath.
  • Use a firm sleep surface such as a safety-approved and empty “crib” or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet. Do this until age 1.
  • Share a bedroom with your baby, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Keep up with recommended vaccinations. Research has shown that immunizations reduce SIDS risk by 50 percent.
  • Breastfeed for the first six months or longer. Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Give baby daily tummy time while awake and supervised to facilitate development (head, neck, and shoulder movement) and to reduce the chance of flat spots.
  • Consider using a pacifier after breastfeeding is established (typically by one month).
  • Obtain regular prenatal care to reduce risk of SIDS.
  • Talk with family and other caregivers about safe sleep practices for your baby.

Don’t ...

  • Let baby get too hot by overdressing (no more than one layer more than an adult would wear). Do not cover baby’s face or head. Keep room at a comfortable temperature for an adult.
  • Put baby in bed with you or with another child, which could result in someone rolling over onto baby.
  • Use soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, quilts, pillows, wedges/positioners, or soft toys. These items can obstruct infant breathing or cause overheating.
  • Place baby to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, soft mattress, blankets, cushions, or other soft surfaces. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep. Don’t leave baby unattended while using these products.
  • Fall asleep with baby on a couch or armchair. Place baby in safe sleeping space immediately after feedings and cuddling.
  • Smoke during pregnancy and after birth. Always put baby's crib in a smoke-free area. Research shows that babies with mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at 3 times greater risk for SIDS, and babies who breathe secondhand smoke have 2.5 times greater risk for SIDS.
  • Use alcohol or illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Use products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS or home monitors that claim to reduce the risk.

For crib safety guidelines, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commissioner toll free at (800) 638-2772(800) 638-2772

Sleep Sacks

Baby sleep sacks, also known as wearable blankets and baby sleeping bags, are a practical, safe alternative to blankets. They keep babies comfortable since they can’t be kicked off. And while they stay secure on your baby, they don’t cover her face or pose a suffocation risk.

Premier Health provides each mother a sleep sack after delivery.

Information adapted from Ohio Department of Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Premier Health safe sleep educators, February 2019.


Contact Us

If you’re pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, schedule an appointment with a physician or certified nurse midwife, take a virtual tour of our maternity centers, or register for childbirth, breastfeeding, and family education classes.

Visit our locations page to find a Premier Health maternity center near you and for additional contact information.