CDC Vital Signs Report: Safe Sleep for Babies

Every year, there are thousands of sleep-related deaths among babies.

There have been dramatic improvements in reducing baby deaths during sleep since the 1990s, when recommendations were introduced to place babies on their back for sleep. However, since the late 1990s, declines have slowed. Other recommended safe sleep practices today include eliminating hazards, such as keeping blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of the sleep area. Recommendations also include room sharing but not bed sharing. These practices can help lower the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes. Not all caregivers follow these recommendations.

Healthcare providers can counsel caregivers on safe sleep practices during pregnancy and baby care visits.

Healthcare providers can:

  • Advise caregivers to place babies on their back for every sleep. Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of their baby’s sleep area, and room share but not bed share with babies.
  • Ask caregivers about how they place the baby to sleep, challenges to following recommendations, and help them find solutions.
  • Model safe sleep practices in hospitals.
  • Follow the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleep. Print or share the below infographic to help spread the word:


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