Recommendations for Safe Sleeping

In accordance with the most recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics in regard to Safe Sleep, St.Vincent Neonatology and Pediatric staff suggests the following:

  1. Back to Sleep: Always place infants on the back for every sleep, for naps and at night.
  2. Use a firm sleep surface: A firm, safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet is best. Never place an infant on pillows, quilts, comforters or sheepskins to sleep.
  3. Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended: The infant's crib/bassinet should be in the parents' bedroom close to the parents' bed. Infants may be brought into the parents' bed for feeding or comfort but should be returned to their own crib/bassinet for sleep.
  4. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation:
    • This includes: pillows, bumper pads, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft objects.
    • Loose fitting bedding such as blankets and sheets should not be used.
    • Swaddle for comfort not for sleep.
  5. Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
  6. Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth:
    • Mothers should not smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
    • There should be no smoking near pregnant women or infants. Encourage strict rules for smoke-free homes and cars to eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke.
  7. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
  8. Breastfeeding is recommended. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
  9. Consider using a pacifier at nap time and bedtime:
    • If breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is well established—3 to 4 weeks.
    • Do not hang a pacifier around an infant's neck or attach objects such as stuff animals to a pacifier.
  10. Avoid overheating: Dress an infant in no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable.
  11. Infants should be immunized in accordance to AAP and CDC recommendation.
  12. Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce SIDS.
  13. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS: Talk to your heath care provider if you have questions or concerns.
  14. To reduce the chance that flats spots will develop on the back of baby's head:
    • Encourage "tummy time" when baby is awake and being watched.
    • Avoid too much time in car seats, carriers and bouncers.

Adapted from The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005) and Safe Sleep for Your Baby (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).