Safe sleep for your baby

October 01, 2018

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October is SIDS Awareness Month. In 2016, about 3,600 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep.

These deaths are called Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). In order to reduce the risk of SUID, parents need to understand the problem.

SIDS, or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, is a type of SUID. Understanding SIDS, as well as some other sleep related risks can help in reducing infant deaths. However, years of research and investigations have led to more questions as to why SIDS does happen. What they have found is that some sleep related deaths, like accidental suffocation, are preventable.

Accidental suffocation can happen in a variety of ways. Often times, parents may lay an infant on a bed near or around soft bedding, possibly surrounded by pillows or blankets. What they don't realize is even the slightest movement can cause the infants nose and mouth to be covered, which can cause suffocation. Infants can also become wedged between two objects such as a mattress and wall or furniture. Bed-sharing can also create risk by an overlay, meaning when someone can unintentionally roll over or against the infant. Another cause of SUID is accidental strangulation, when an infant’s head can get caught between something like a crib railing.

The good news is that there are ways in which parents can reduce their baby's risk of SIDS and other types of sleep related death. The below tips are research-backed and parent tested and approved:

  • Place a baby on their back to sleep - every time
  • Use a safe sleep surface, like a firm mattress in a safety approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet
  • Don't place a baby to sleep on soft surfaces (adult bed, sofa, or couch)
  • Share a room, but not a bed, with your baby
  • Keep pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers out of your baby’s sleep area
  • Don't smoke, or let others smoke, around your baby
  • Dress your baby in sleep clothing - like footie pajamas or wearable blankets, not loose blankets


Click here for additional safe sleep information. Click here for more information on Randall Children’s Hospital Safety Programs.

Safe sleep for your baby

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