Baby for ABC's of Safe Sleep

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep


A is for Alone Your baby should always be alone anytime he or she is put down to sleep. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing during the first year of life, bed sharing is never recommended. Your baby's sleep space should be completely clear of all clutter including soft pillows blankets and bedding, crib bumpers and stuffed toys. The only thing that should be in your baby's sleep space is a tightly fitted sheet.


B is for on their Back Your baby should always be placed on his or her back to sleep. When your baby is laid down to rest on his or her side or tummy, the risk of suffocation due to rebreathing carbon dioxide increases. If your baby spits up while sleeping on his or her back, you can trust that their gag reflex is strong enough that he or she will avoid choking. You can feel confident that placing your baby on his or her back for every sleep is the best thing that you can do to keep your baby safe.


C is for in an empty Crib Your baby should always be laid down to sleep in a crib, bassinet or play yard that is safety approved by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSD). Never allow your baby to sleep in your bed or on a couch or cushioned chair. If your baby falls asleep while in his or her car seat, sling, swing, bouncy seat or stroller, be sure to transfer them to their designated safe sleep space as soon as possible.

We have learned a lot about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) over the past twenty years. In the early 1990s, the SIDS infant mortality rate was skyrocketing. Approximately 10,000 babies died unexpectedly in their sleep each year. All of these deaths were categorized as SIDS, and the causes of these deaths were unknown.

In 1992, a study was conducted on the low SIDS rates in Japan as compared to many other countries. The only difference they discovered was the way that the Japanese laid their babies down to sleep. The study found that in the Japanese culture, parents placed their babies on their backs on plain tatami mats to sleep while many other countries slept their babies on their tummies in overcrowded cribs.

In 1994, the Back to Sleep campaign began and the United States started to see a significant drop in SIDS deaths. Through the education and programming efforts of the dedicated Safe Sleep community, instances of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths have dropped by more than half. The campaign recently expanded to include more than just sleep position, and is now called the Safe to Sleep campaign.

Although we see fewer instances, sleep-related deaths remain the number one cause of infant deaths after the first month of age. You can do your part to help these deaths decrease by adhering to strict Safe Sleep guidelines when it comes to your baby and by educating family and friends on the benefits of Safe Sleep.

The safest way for your baby to sleep is Alone on their Back in an empty Crib. Help to raise awareness by passing along the ABCs of Safe Sleep within your community.