SIDS risk reduction

Research shows that following safe sleep rules can help lower your baby's risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) and protect baby from suffocation and accidents during sleep.

Back to sleep

Healthy babies should sleep on their backs. One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS is to put your healthy baby on his or her back to sleep. Do this when your baby is being put down for a nap or to bed for the night. Talk to everyone who cares for your baby- grandparents, child care providers, babysitters - about the importance of placing your baby on his back for sleep. Since the "Back to Sleep" campaign started in 1984, the SIDS rate in the United States has dropped by more than 50%.

As baby gets older, continue t place him on his back when you lay him down for sleep. When baby starts rolling over, there is no need to constantly re-position him onto his back while he sleeps. This is a good time to look at where baby is sleeping to make sure safe sleep practices are still being followed. Check that baby is sleeping in a safety approved crib and make sure there are no pillows, fluffy bedding, stuffed toys or pillow-like bumpers in the crib.

Check with your doctor or nurse - Most babies should sleep on their backs, but a few babies have health conditions requiring them to sleep on their tummies. If your baby was born with a birth defect, or has a breathing, lung or heart problem, be sure to talk to a doctor or nurse about which sleep position is best for your baby.

Some parents worry that their baby may choke on spit-up vomit when back sleeping. There is no evidence that sleeping on the back causes choking. Millions of babies around the world now sleep on their backs and doctors have not found and increase in choking or other problems.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions about your baby's sleep position.


Safe sleep environment

Where baby sleeps is important too. The safest place for baby to sleep is on his back in his own safety approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a tight fighting sheet. Remove fluffy bedding, pillows or stuffed toys from baby's sleep area. Research has shown that such things can pose a risk for suffocation as well as SIDS.

What does a safe sleep environment look like? [English] [Spanish]


Tummy time

Babies, like adults, should move and be in different positions throughout their day. Limit use of car seats, infant carriers, infant swings, etc. Use tummy time for play. Place baby on her stomach when he is awake and being supervised. Tummy time strengthens neck and shoulder muscles, encourages motor development, and helps baby learn to use both sides of his body. These are important skills to build as baby continues to grow and develop physically, emotionally, and socially. Remember: back to sleep, tummy to play.

Enjoy your baby! Remember, most babies are born healthy and most stay that way. Don't let the fear of SIDS spoil your joy and enjoyment of having a new baby.


Resources for download

• Helping Baby Back to Sleep [PDF]
• Safe Sleep for Your Baby [PDF] [African American] [American Indian] [Spanish]
• Safe Sleep Environment [PDF]
• Safe Sleep for Your Grandbaby [PDF] [Spanish]
• Crib Safety Tips [PDF]
• Tummy Time [PDF]
• AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction [PDF]


This information is from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the American Academy of Pediatricians, First Candle/SIDS Alliance, and the Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs.