Safe Sleep for Your Baby

Safe Sleep for Your Baby
Safe Sleep
For Your Baby
SAFE TO SLEEP
Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome (SIDS) and Other Sleep-Related
Causes of Infant Death
This is what a safe sleep environment looks like.
It has no bumpers, pillows, blankets, or toys.
What is SIDS?
SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby
younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have
a known cause even after a complete investigation.
Each year in the United
States, thousands of
babies die suddenly and
unexpectedly. These
deaths are called SUID
(pronounced SOO-idd),
which stands for
“Sudden Unexpected
Infant Death.”
Fast facts about SIDS:
SIDS is the leading
cause of death in
babies 1 month to
1 year of age.
Most SIDS deaths
happen when babies
are between 1 month
and 4 months of age.
SUID includes all
unexpected deaths: those without a clear cause,
such as SIDS, and those from a known cause, such
as suffocation. One-half of all SUID cases are SIDS.
Many unexpected infant deaths are accidents, but
a disease or something done on purpose can also
cause a baby to die suddenly and unexpectedly.
Sleep-related causes of infant death are those
linked to how or where a baby sleeps or slept. They
are due to accidental causes, such as: suffocation;
entrapment, when baby gets trapped between
two objects, such as a mattress and wall, and can’t
breathe; or strangulation, when something presses
on or wraps around baby’s neck, blocking baby’s
airway. These deaths are not SIDS.
1
What should I know
about SIDS?
We have made great progress in reducing SIDS.
Since awareness campaigns that stressed back
sleeping for babies started in 1994, the SIDS rate in
the United States has dropped by 50 percent. This
decreased rate equals thousands of babies’ lives
and is a result of parents and caregivers placing
babies on their backs to sleep.
In 1994, 4,073 babies died from SIDS and only
27 percent of babies slept on their backs. In 2009,
2,226 babies died from SIDS and 74 percent of
babies slept on their backs.
In 1994, 1,235 African American babies died from
SIDS. In 2009, 665 African American babies died
from SIDS.
In 1995, 77 American Indian/Alaska Native babies
died from SIDS. In 2009, 52 American Indian/
Alaska Native babies died from SIDS.
Despite these decreases, African American and
American Indian/Alaska Native babies are at
higher risk for SIDS, based on their numbers
within the U.S. population, than are Hispanic
American, Asian American, or white babies.
•
•
•
•
2
Babies sleep safest on their backs. Babies who
sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of
SIDS than are babies who sleep on their stomachs
or sides.
Every sleep time counts. Babies should sleep on
their backs for all sleep times—for naps and at
night. Babies who are used to sleeping on their
backs but who are then placed on their stomachs
to sleep, like for a nap, are at very high risk of SIDS.
Sleep surface matters. Babies who sleep on a
soft surface, such as an adult bed, or under a soft
covering, such as a soft blanket or quilt, are more
likely to die of SIDS or suffocation.
Always place your baby on his or her back to
sleep, for naps and at night.
3
What can I do to lower my
baby’s risk of SIDS and
other sleep-related causes
of infant death?
There is no sure way to prevent SIDS, but parents
and caregivers can take these steps to reduce the
risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of
infant death:
Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep,
for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The back sleep position is the safest position for
all babies, including preterm babies. Keep in mind
that every sleep time counts.
Room sharing—keeping your baby’s sleep area
in the same room where you sleep—reduces the
risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of
infant death.
4
Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted
sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other
sleep-related causes of infant death. Firm sleep
surfaces can include
* For information on
safety-approved*
crib safety, contact
cribs, bassinets, and
the Consumer Product
portable play areas.
Safety Commission
Do not use a car
at 1-800-638-2772 or
seat, carrier, swing,
http://www.cpsc.gov.
or similar product as
baby’s everyday sleep area. Never place baby to
sleep on soft surfaces, such as on a couch or sofa,
pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or blankets.
Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on
a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with
anyone else. Room sharing—keeping baby’s
sleep area in the same room where you sleep—
reduces the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related
causes of infant death. If you bring your baby
into your bed to breastfeed, make sure to put
him or her back in a separate sleep area in your
room, such as a safety-approved* crib, bassinet,
or portable play area, when you are finished.
5
Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding
out of your baby’s sleep area to reduce the
risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of
infant death. Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts,
sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in your
baby’s sleep area. Evidence does not support
using crib bumpers to prevent injury. In fact, crib
bumpers can cause serious injuries and even
death. Keeping them out of baby’s sleep area is
the best way to avoid these dangers.
To reduce the risk of SIDS, women should:
Get regular health care during pregnancy, and
Not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs
during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
•
•
To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during
pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking
around your baby.
All babies, even those born preterm, should be
placed to sleep on their backs for all sleep times.
6
Breastfeed your baby to
reduce the risk of SIDS.
Breastfeeding has many
health benefits for mother
and baby.
If you bring your
baby into your
bed to breastfeed,
make sure to put
him or her back in
a separate sleep
area in your room,
such as a safetyapproved* crib
(see page 5), when
you are finished.
Give your baby a dry
pacifier that is not attached
to a string for naps and at
night to reduce the risk of
SIDS. But don’t force the
baby to use it. If the pacifier
falls out of baby’s mouth during sleep, there is no
need to put the pacifier back in. Wait until baby is
used to breastfeeding before trying a pacifier.
Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
Dress your baby in light sleep clothing or in no
more than one layer more of clothing than an adult
would wear to be comfortable. Keep the room at a
temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
7
Follow health care provider guidance on your
baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.
Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS
and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
These wedges, positioners, and other products have
not been tested for safety or effectiveness.
Do not use home heart or breathing monitors to
reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about
using these monitors for other health conditions,
talk with your baby’s health care provider.
Give your baby plenty of Tummy Time when he
or she is awake and when someone is watching.
Supervised Tummy Time helps your baby’s neck,
shoulder, and arm muscles get stronger. It also
helps to prevent flat spots on the back of your
baby’s head. Holding baby upright and limiting
time in carriers and bouncers can also help
prevent flat spots on the back of baby’s head.
Place babies on their stomachs when they are
awake and when someone is watching. Tummy
Time helps your baby’s head, neck, and shoulder
muscles get stronger and helps to prevent flat
spots on the head.
8
Answers to common
questions about SIDS
Q
A
Q
A
Q
A
What is the best way to reduce my baby’s risk
for SIDS?
Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep for
every sleep time is the best way to reduce the
risk of SIDS.
Will my baby choke if placed on the back
to sleep?
No. Healthy babies naturally swallow or cough
up fluids—it’s a reflex all people have. Babies
might actually clear such fluids better when on
their backs.
What if my baby rolls onto the stomach on his or
her own during sleep? Do I need to put my baby
in the back sleep position again if this happens?
No. Rolling over is an important and natural part
of your baby’s growth. Most babies start rolling
over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age.
If your baby rolls over on his or her own during
sleep, you do not need to turn the baby over
onto his or her back. The important thing is that
the baby start off every sleep time on his or her
back to reduce the risk of SIDS, and that there is
no soft, loose bedding in the baby’s sleep area.
9
Spread the word!
Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows the
ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related
causes of infant death. Remember: Babies sleep safest on
their backs, and every sleep time counts!
Help family members, babysitters, daycare workers—
EVERYONE—reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and ensure
a safe sleep area for your baby. Share these safe sleep
messages with everyone who cares for your baby or for
any baby younger than 1 year of age.
For more information, contact the Safe to Sleep campaign:
Mail: 31 Center Drive, 31/2A32, Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Phone: 1-800-505-CRIB (2742)
Fax: 1-866-760-5947
Website: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS
Safe to Sleep campaign collaborators include:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development
Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal
and Child Health Bureau
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of
Reproductive Health
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
First Candle
Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs
SAFE TO SLEEP
NIH Pub. No. 12-7040
September 2012
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