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Safe Sleep for Babies

Last updated: April 6, 2023

Baby sleeping in crib


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.



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