Safe Baby Sleeping Practices


Safe baby sleeping practices are simple, direct ways that you prevent your newborn from choking, suffocating, or experiencing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


If you are expecting or are the parent of a newborn, do not fear – there are well established, commonly agreed upon measures you can take to drastically reduce the chance of something happening while your newborn sleeps.  In fact, since safer sleeping practices have been adopted among parents, there has been a steady decline in infant mortality since 1990.


Here are the widely adopted safe baby sleeping practices that are saving lives.


Avoid Stomach Sleeping

Laying a baby on his or her back has made a significant difference in infant deaths since it first started being advised in 1990. A baby laying on his or her stomach can cause overheating, suffocation, or SIDS.

Even though your baby may prefer to sleep on his or her stomach, where it is more comfortable, that same comfort may make it easier for them to suffocate. When a baby sleeps on his or her back, they will  sleep more lightly and be more aware of the discomfort of not being able to breathe.

As soon as your baby is able to roll onto his or her stomach all by his or her self, then it is safe to let your baby sleep on their stomach.

No Bed Sharing

During the first year it is ideal to let your baby sleep in the same room with you. Research has even shown that room sharing decreases the chance of SIDS by 50 percent. Just make sure you are not sharing the same sleeping surface.

As tempting as it can be to let your baby sleep in bed with you, especially if he or she can’t sleep otherwise, resist it. A bassinet or crib in your bedroom near where you sleep is ideal, but just make sure that if possible, your crib or bassinet is new and meets current safety standards, including if there have been recalls.

Make sure too that your crib or bassinet has a firm sleep surface, a tight-fitting sheet, and that there are no crib bumpers, sleep positioners, blankets, pillows, or soft toys. Basically, your angel’s bed should be completely bare. Do not use portable crib rails, and remove hanging window cords and any nearby electrical wires.

Remember it is best for your baby to sleep in a bassinet or crib, and letting him or her sleep in a carrier, sling, car seat or stroller should be avoided. If your baby does fall asleep in one of these, then transfer him or her to a crib or bassinet as soon as possible.

Dress Your Baby Appropriately for Sleep

Your baby probably has no shortage of beautiful bedtime clothing, but be careful what he or she sleeps in. Dress your baby in light sleep clothes, as you don’t want him or her to overheat. You should also remove any pajama strings or ties, so that you never cover his or her head.

You can swaddle your baby for sleep, up until that milestone where your baby can roll over to his or her tummy. If you swaddle, just make sure you don’t lay your baby on his or her stomach, as that can increase the chance of SIDS.

As a side note, pacifiers are a good thing. They can even protect against SIDS. Just make sure if you’re breastfeeding to wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old and accustomed to breastfeeding before giving him or her a pacifier. It’s okay if the pacifier falls out, but do not attach the pacifier to your baby’s clothing or even to a stuffed animal.

There is so much to learn as a new mother or father, but don’t let these risks daunt you. By you and your partner communicating about these risks and how to avoid them through practicing routine, simple measures, you should be just fine.

Author’s bio: Ashley Little is a writer for Mattress Advisor, a site dedicated to helping others get their best night’s sleep each night.