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reviewed 7/30/2018

Sleep safety for baby

Pillows and blankets seem like cute crib additions, but they may also make your baby's sleep environment hazardous. Find out what else can make your baby's sleep safe or unsafe.

Sleep safe baby! Reducing sleep risks for infants

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 and 12 months old. But you can take action to reduce the risk of SIDS. Creating a safe environment can help protect your baby from this and other dangers.

So what makes a sleeping space safe—or unsafe—for a baby?

Safe:

Put your baby to sleep on a firm mattress.

Place your baby on his or her back—never the stomach—for all sleep, including naps and daytime sleep.

Dress your baby in a light, 1-piece sleeper.

Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet only. Make sure there's no space between it and the crib sheet.

Use a crib that meets current federal safety standards. Not sure if yours does? This page can help

Unsafe:

Don't let your baby get too hot during sleep. Sweating, rapid breathing and flushed cheeks are signs your baby is too warm.

Never smoke around your baby. Don't let anyone else smoke around your baby.

Don't put blankets, quilts or other bedding, like sheepskins, in the crib. They could make your baby too warm during sleep—or lead to suffocation.

Don't put pillows or stuffed toys in the crib that could cause breathing problems if they get too close to a baby's face. Also avoid wedges, positioners and other products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Don't use crib bumpers. There is no evidence to support the claim that these products prevent injuries. In fact, they are known to cause serious injuries and death.

For safety's sake

For complete information and guidelines on safe sleeping for infants, visit the "Safe to Sleep" campaign page from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Visit "Safe to Sleep"

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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