Parents may unknowingly place their infants at increased risk of death by placing them in unsafe sleep situations. The following precautions are offered to help prevent sleep-related infant deaths.

General Precautions

  • Infants should always sleep on their backs.*
  • Infants should never sleep on waterbeds, sofas, recliners, futons, bean bag chairs, soft mattresses or other soft surfaces.
  • Don’t allow smoking in homes where infants live, especially in infants’ sleep areas.
  • Don’t use soft bedding such as quilts, sheepskins, fluffy blankets or comforters.
  • An infant’s head should always be uncovered when sleeping.
  • Keep infants away from drapes, curtains, venetian blinds and their cords.

*Infants should be given time on their tummies while awake and supervised by a responsible person.

Crib/Bassinet Precautions

  • Do not place near furnace vent, radiator, space heater or other heat source.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other stuffed items.
  • Use firm, well-fitting mattress.
  • Never have spaces between the mattress and the crib where infant could be trapped.
  • Never use loose-fitting bedding.
  • Do not use hand-me-down (or other used) cribs or bassinets unless they meet current safety standards.
  • Place the crib in the room where parents sleep.

Co-Sleeping Precautions

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib or bassinet in the same room with a parent or caregiver. Adult beds are not designed for babies and may carry a risk of accidental entrapment and suffocation. But if parents choose to share a sleep surface (co-sleep) with their infants, the following precautions are offered.

  • Siblings or adults other than the parents should never sleep with an infant.
  • Avoid crevices between the mattress and a wall that could entrap an infant.
  • Parents should never sleep with infant if the parent is:
    • a smoker,
    • under the influence of alcohol,
    • using illegal drugs,
    • taking medication that causes sleepiness,
    • sick,
    • unusually tired,
    • very upset or angry, or
  • obese or severely overweight.