Babies spend a lot of time sleeping, so it is important to provide a safe sleep environment for them. Any parent is anxious to make their baby as comfortable during sleep as possible. However, some common steps for a cozy bed may increase the chance of serious problems.
Certain items in and around the crib can be a suffocation hazard to infants. These items may be harmless to older children but infants have smaller airways and less head control. This means they may not be able to reposition themselves if their access to air is blocked, even by something as simple as a blanket. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps to make your baby's sleep environment much safer without disturbing your baby's sleep.
All parents and caregivers should be aware of the possible hazards associated with sleeping.
Getting trapped between the mattress and another object.Getting trapped between the mattress and the wall.Getting baby's head trapped in headboard or footboard rails.Suffocation from soft items like clothing, blankets, pillows, and thick bedding.
Problems have been caused by all of the above as well as the following:
Sleeping on the stomach, a position that has been associated with
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)Soft bedding, such as pillows, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins
Sleep positioners. They are unnecessary and pose a danger.
Here are some tips to making your baby's sleep safer from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When putting a baby less than one year of age to sleep, make sure that you: Place the baby on his back.Keep the baby’s head uncovered during sleep.Consider offering the baby a pacifier during nap time and bedtime.
Note: When your child is awake, it is okay for your baby to have supervised play time on their belly. This will help your baby develop some posture muscles.
Steps for safe bedding include: Do not use loose bedding.Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing instead of blankets.If a blanket is used, it should be thin and tucked under the mattress at the bottom of the crib. This will keep it from covering the baby's head or face during sleep.Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for the mattress.
Do not place the baby to sleep on a soft surface such as: WaterbedSofaSoft mattressPillow
Your baby can sleep in the same room as you, but do not share the bed.
A safe crib will have: No missing or broken hardware, and slats no more than 2-3/8" apartNo corner posts over 1/16" highNo cutout designs in the headboard or footboardUse the firm, tight-fitting mattressA safety certification seal
Remove soft products from the baby’s crib such as: Loose blankets or sheetsPillowsQuiltsComfortersSheepskinsBumper padsStuffed toys
For mesh-sided cribs or playpens, look for: Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothingMesh with no tears, holes, or loose threads that could entangle a babyMesh that is securely attached to top rail and floor plateTop rail cover with no tears or holesIf staples are used, make sure they are not missing, loose, or exposedUse the firm, tight-fitting mattress that came from the manufacturer
Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. American Academy of Pediatrics Statement: The changing concept of sudden infant death syndrome: diagnostic coding shifts, controversies regarding the sleeping environment, and new variables to consider in reduction risk.
. 2005;116:1245-1255. Available at:
11/14/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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