Did you know that newborns sleep about 16-17 hours a day? Since your baby will spend so much time sleeping in his first year of life it is important to know the ABCs of Safe Sleep for Infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following safe sleep practices that parents and all caregivers of infants should know:
A - Alone:
- Babies should sleep alone in their own safe sleep space such as a crib, bassinet, or playpen with a firm, flat mattress and a tightly-fitting sheet.
- Sleeping alone means no other people, pets, or objects like toys, bumper pads, blankets, and pillows. These items can cause choking and suffocation.
B - Back:
- Healthy babies should always be put to sleep safely on their back, both for naps and at night, as this is the safest position for an infant to sleep throughout the first year of life. It is particularly important during the first six months, when the incidence of Sudden, Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is the highest.
- Placing babies on their backs to sleep is one of the most important ways to prevent sudden unexpected infant death.
- Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised.
C - Crib:
- Use a firm sleep surface such as a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), along with a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet for that product – no other bedding.
- Room share for the first 6 months, or ideally for the first year. Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort. Place your baby back in his or her own sleep space when you are ready to go to sleep.
- Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, air mattress or armchair.
Note: Always talk with your pediatrician if you have questions about any of these recommendations for your baby.
Resources for Health Care Professionals:
- American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Updated 2022 Recommendations Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment
Video – The ABCs of Safe Sleep, Every Sleep
Download in MP4 Format links
Parent verification forms (for hospitals and birth centers)
Safe Sleep, Every Sleep brochure
- How to request materials from DHEC Educational Materials Library
- NICHD Safe Sleep Quiz for health professionals
Resources for Parents: