Make the crib a safe place
Bed-sharing increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and other dangers, such as suffocation. Make your baby’s crib a safe place to sleep.
Ensure your baby’s crib meets the appropriate safety regulations. New cribs on the market today meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. Ask a salesperson if you’re unsure if the crib meets all safety requirements.
If you use a used crib, ensure there are no sharp or jagged edges, broken or loose parts, or side latches that your baby can easily release. Crib slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart, and gaps between the sides of the crib and the mattress should be no larger than two fingers’ width.
Share a room, not a bed
Babies are at risk of physical harm when in bed with an adult. Infants can be crushed or suffocated if someone rolls on them.
Room-sharing is a safer option than having your baby in bed with you. Place the bassinet, crib or playpen in your bedroom during the early months for more convenient feeding and cuddle time. Always return your baby to the bassinet, crib or playpen when you’re ready to go back to sleep.
Sleeping on the back helps prevent SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) typically affects babies during their first year. SIDS is the unexpected death of a healthy infant whose death remains unexplained after a complete post-death investigation.
Not all SIDS deaths can be prevented. However, the risk of this family tragedy can be reduced by following safe sleep practices. Begin by consistently placing your baby on their back for sleeping. Pediatricians recommend back sleeping (called the supine position) to keep airways open and breathing easy. Don’t worry about choking. Healthy babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids.
Always place your baby on their back for naps and longer sleep. Infants who sleep on their stomachs or sides have a higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
Place your baby on the stomach only when awake, and someone is watching. Tummy time helps your baby’s muscles strengthen and helps prevent flat spots on the head.
Smoke-free is best
Do not allow smoking around your baby. The greater the baby’s exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
Soft bedding is not safe
Place nothing in the crib but the baby—no covers, pillows, bumper pads, or toys. Soft bedding—bumpers, pillows and loose blankets—is associated with the risk of SIDS and can suffocate a baby by blocking the airway during sleep. Tiny faces can become wedged against soft objects, interfering with breathing.
Do not over-clothe your baby during sleep. Use just enough clothes to keep your baby warm and keep the room at a comfortable temperature. Overheating an infant may increase the risk of SIDS. Use a sleep sack (wearable blanket), not loose blankets, to keep your baby comfortable.