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Safe Sleep Steps

Follow these steps to create a safe sleep environment for your baby. These steps aren’t always as simple as they sound. If you need help or feel overwhelmed, talk with your healthcare provider to create a plan that is best for you and your baby. Reach out to family and friends to ask for help.

  1. Your baby should sleep alone in a crib, portable crib, bassinet or pack ‘n play (play yard) with only a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheet for every sleep time. Find out why.
  2. Always place your baby on the back to sleep. Once your baby can roll from back to stomach and from stomach to back, he or she can be allowed to remain in the sleep position that he or she baby chooses. Find out why.
  3. No pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals or other objects should be in your baby’s sleep area. Find out why.
  4. Your baby should sleep where you can see and hear them. Share your room, not your bed. Find out why.
  5. Avoid covering your baby’s head when sleeping or overheating your baby. After hospital discharge, your baby should not wear a hat when sleeping. Your baby should be dressed for the space he or she is in. If you think your baby is cold, dress him or her in a footed sleeper with a sleep sack right for his or her size and age. Find out why.
  6. Breastfeeding is recommended. Find out why.
  7. Don't allow anyone to smoke around your baby. Find out why.
  8. Consider offering your baby a pacifier at naptime and bedtime. For breastfed infants, pacifiers shouldn’t be used until breastfeeding is firmly established. Find out why.
  9. Car seats, swings and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep. Learn why these products are not safe for sleep. If your baby falls asleep in a swing, bouncy seat, car seat, or other sitting devices, he or she should be moved to a crib, bassinet, or pack ‘n play as soon as it is possible. Find out why.
  10. Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily. Find out why.

Share this information with all family, friends, and child care providers who may care for your baby to ensure they follow the safe sleep steps. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to common questions about these guidelines.

It is also important that you and your baby stay healthy – by obtaining regular prenatal care, taking baby to wellness checkups and obtaining recommended immunizations. Learn more about keeping healthy.

These guidelines based on the American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for a Safe Sleeping Environment.