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Safe Sleep Recommendations from the National Institute of Health


The Safe to Sleep Campaign, formerly known as the Back to Sleep Campaign, was created in 1994 to provide parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers with the most up to date information on safe sleep practices. Since the start of the campaign, infant mortality from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the United States has dropped by 60%. Current research supports the following recommendations to reduce the risk of (SIDS):

  • Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Do not use pillows, blankets, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby's sleep area.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Dress your baby in sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper,  and do not use a blanket.
  • Keep baby in your room close to your bed, but on a separate sleep surface designed for infants.
  • Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Think about giving your baby a pacifier for naps and nighttime.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
  • Follow guidance from your health care provider on your baby's vaccines and regular health checkups. Evidence suggests that immunizations can reduce the risk of SIDs. 
  • Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and someone is watching.  This will strengthen baby's neck and upper body, allowing her to change sleep positions more easily. 
For more information including videos and handouts in a variety of languages, visit the Safe to Sleep Campaign website led by the National Institute of Health.