Talking Points

  • Sleep-related deaths are the third most common type of death for infants in Michigan (behind perinatal conditions and congenital anomalies) and are largely preventable.
  • The best way to prevent sleep-related infant deaths is to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment (updated in 2016) which are:
    • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
    • Always use a firm sleep surface.  Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
    • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room- sharing without bed-sharing). Ideally, infants should room-share for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.
    • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib.  This includes pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys and any clutter.
    • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
    • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
    • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
    • Breastfeeding is recommended.
    • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bed time.
    • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
    • Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.
    • Avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations.
    • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
    • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
  • Most babies that die in a sleep environment, are sleeping in an unsafe setting such as in an adult bed, on a couch, cushion, arm chair or on the floor. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs in a crib, bassinet or portable play yard (the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission defines this as a framed enclosure with a floor and mesh or fabric side panels; it may be folded for storage or travel) – for naps and night time.
  • Make sure everyone taking care of your baby knows this information.
  • Find out more about infant sleep safety by visiting the website: www.michigan.gov/safesleep