Updated October 2020
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness month. About 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the U.S.* Although sometimes the cause is unknown, there are several actions that parents and caregivers can take to lessen the risk for babies.
Our Family Engagement team is passionate about educating families and caregivers on safe sleep. Some of the practices they often see but caregivers must avoid are:
- Loose sheets – Loose fitting sheets are one of the most common issues. When looking for sheets, it is always best to try one before purchasing multiples. In general, avoid jersey fabric sheets. Good-fitting full-size crib sheets are typically easy to find, but sheets that are tight fitting and don’t roll the mattress can be difficult to find for pack-and-plays and porta-cribs. . Pack-and-play sheets should be the “Pack-and-Play” brand quilted sheet. Recommended brands for porta-crib sheet include Koala (Walmart), Babies-R-Us, and American Baby (Amazon). Watch our video on crib sheet tips.
- Sleeping in devices like swings, bouncers, and car seats – Always place infants to sleep on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress, in a safety-approved crib, porta-crib, or play yard. If the infant falls asleep in another surface (carrier, car seat, swing) immediately remove him/her and place in a safety approved crib, porta-crib, or pack-and-play.
- Sleeping with bibs, pacifier cords, or wubanubs – These devices may cover the face or present a strangulation hazard. Crib gyms, crib toys, mobiles, mirrors, and all objects/toys are not recommended in or attached to an infant’s crib. While studies show that using a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS, you should not use a pacifier attached to anything, including a Wubanub or stuffed animal, pacifier clip/cord, or attach the pacifier to the crib.
- Blankets in the crib – Keep all blankets, pillows, quilts, and bumpers out of the infant’s sleep area. Instead of a blanket, place the infant to sleep in sleep clothing such as a one-piece sleeper and/or sleep sack.
- Stomach sleeping – Infants under one year of age are always placed on their backs to sleep, for naps and at night. Although common myths may lead people to believe stomach sleeping avoids choking, studies show that babies may actually clear secretions better when placed on their backs.
- Positioning devices – Unless a doctor specifies the need for a positioning device that restricts movement within the child’s crib, do not use these devices.
For more information about SIDS and safe sleep, see our Your Child page. We also offer workshops on this topic throughout the year, including Understanding Sleep: Infant & Toddler Sleep Basics this Thursday, October 29 at 2pm. See our Events Calendar for details and more family workshops.