The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep alone on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and no other objects. It further recommends that organizations follow the infant safe sleep guidelines in their messaging and resource materials. Images portraying unsafe sleep practices may make parents and other infant caregivers believe it is safe to allow a baby to sleep in a way that is not recommended by the AAP.
Keep in mind, you should be careful about all images of babies you use - even for resources and materials not related to infant safe sleep. The National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep at the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health has developed Modeling Safe Practices: A Checklist for Infant Sleep & Breastfeeding Images
that you can use to ensure all of your resources have images that model breastfeeding-friendly, safe infant sleep practices.
If you see images depicting unsafe infant sleep practices on websites, newsletters or other materials, reach out and encourage the use of images that support infant safe sleep. Remember, be nonjudgmental and provide helpful information. If you don't know what to say, use our sample text
when contacting an organization about an unsafe image.
You can easily access images of babies sleeping safely, families with children, breastfeeding moms and more:
Babies are actually safer on their backs. When a baby is on his or her back, the air tube is on top of the food tube. When a baby spits up, liquid flows back into the stomach, not the lungs. When baby is on his or her stomach, fluid can pool at the opening of the air tube and may cause choking.
Use the following images or this video
to show the baby's anatomy when on his or her stomach versus the back.
Image from MDHHS
Image from the Safe to Sleep® Campaign: https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/resources/providers/downloadable/baby_anatomy_image