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Harnett County,
North Carolina

Health Department 

Expecting or caring for a baby? Take these steps to help baby sleep safely and reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Parents and caregivers can help create a safe sleep area for babies by taking the following steps:

Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—naps and at night. Some parents may be concerned that a baby who sleeps on his or her back will choke if he or she spits up during sleep. However, babies’ anatomy and gag reflex will prevent them from choking while sleeping on their backs. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs.

Use a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered only by a fitted sheet. Some parents might feel they should place their baby on a soft surface to help him or her to be more comfortable while sleeping. However, soft surfaces can increase the risk of sleep-related death. A firm sleep surface helps reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation.

Keep your baby’s sleep area (for example, a crib or bassinet) in the same room where you sleep until your baby is at least 6 months old, or ideally, until your baby is one year old. Some parents may feel they should share their bed with their baby to help them feel more connected. However, accidental suffocation or strangulation can happen when a baby is sleeping in an adult bed or other unsafe sleep surfaces. Sharing a room with your baby is much safer than bed sharing and may decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Also, placing the crib close to your bed so that the baby is within view and reach can also help make it easier to feed, comfort, and monitor your baby.

Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area. Additionally, do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Some parents may feel they should add sheets or blankets to their baby’s crib to help keep their baby warm and comfortable while sleeping. However, sheets, comforters, and blankets can increase the risk of suffocation or overheat your baby. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold during sleep, you can dress her or him in sleep clothing, like a wearable blanket.

View a safe sleep environment click on the link What does a safe sleep environment look like?

mother laying baby on back in crib

 
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