Safe Sleep for Babies


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is sometimes referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), is when a child under one-year-old dies and that death can’t be explained after a thorough review of the baby’s medical history. SIDS is the most common cause of unexplained death in infants. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area. That's why practicing safe sleeping methods is crucial with an infant. Evidence shows that an infant should always sleep alone on his or her back in a crib. An easy way to remember this is with the phrase ‘Back to Sleep’.

Other ways to prevent SIDS include:

  • Always have your baby sleep on a firm, flat surface like a mattress with a fitted sheet.
  • Nothing should be in the crib that could potentially cover a baby’s nose or mouth, such as soft bedding or stuffed animals.
  • Infants should sleep in your room and close to your bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for at least the first six months.
  • Never smoke cigarettes or marijuana around your baby, or let anyone smoke or use substances around your baby.
  • Breastfeed infants for at least the first six months, if possible.

Risk factors associated with SIDS, include:

  • Babies who are born premature or with low birth weight are 2 to 3 times more likely to die of SIDS or other sleep-related deaths.
  • Babies sleeping on their stomach or side.
  • Exposure to tobacco, marijuana and alcohol during pregnancy or exposure to tobacco and marijuana as a baby.

It's important to share this information with anyone caring for an infant, including family members, babysitters, and daycare providers.

Infant Deaths Due to Unsafe Sleeping Continue to Occur in Anne Arundel County

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health would like to alert the community about infant deaths related to unsafe sleeping practices. Anne Arundel County infant deaths continue due to accidental suffocation linked to unsafe sleeping practices, including infants sharing a bed with others or sleeping under piles of blankets. Parents, relatives, babysitters and caregivers should be aware of the following:

  • Bed sharing can be deadly. Never let your baby sleep or nap with you or other people on a bed, sofa, chair or other place. You may share a room, but never a bed.
  • Sleeping on the back is the safest. Tummy or side sleeping can be dangerous.
  • Don’t put fluffy, loose bedding, soft toys or plastic bags in the baby’s crib. Use a firm mattress covered by a well-fitting crib sheet. Don’t let your baby get too hot. Try a one-piece sleeper or a sleep sack to prevent overheating.

Remember the ABCs of safe sleeping. Children under the age of 1 should sleep Alone on their Backs in a safe Crib.