Babies spend a lot of time sleeping. Follow the tips outlined below to prevent sleep hazards that can lead to suffocation and death.

Infant Sleep Hazards

All parents and caregivers should be aware of the possible hazards associated with sleeping.

For infants less than two years of age:

  • Suffocation, which is associated with:
    • Sleeping in the same bed as an adult
    • Getting trapped between the mattress and another object
    • Airway obstruction when the baby is face down on a waterbed mattress
    • Strangulation in rails or openings on beds, allowing the baby’s body to pass through while trapping the head
    • Unsafe bedding

For infants less than one year of age:

Sleep hazards for young infants include all of the above as well as the following:

Making Your Baby’s Bed Safe

A few easy steps can help ensure safe slumber.

Place your baby in a safe position on safe bedding.

When putting a baby less than one year of age to sleep, make sure that you:

  • Place the baby on his or her back.
  • Place the baby on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing as an alternative to blankets, with no other covering.
  • If using a blanket, tuck a thin blanket around the baby’s mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest.
  • Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for cribs.
  • Make sure the baby’s head remains uncovered during sleep.

Avoid sleep surfaces that are too soft.

Do not place the baby to sleep on a:

  • Waterbed
  • Sofa
  • Soft mattress
  • Pillow
  • Any other soft surface

Make sure the crib is safe.

The baby’s crib should have:

  • No missing or broken hardware, and slats no more than 2-3/8" apart
  • No corner posts over 1/16" high
  • No cutout designs in the headboard or footboard
  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • A safety certification seal (on new cribs)

Remove soft bedding.

Remove the following items from the baby’s crib:

  • Pillows
  • Quilts
  • Comforters
  • Sheepskins
  • Bumper pads
  • Stuffed toys
  • Any other soft products

For mesh-sided cribs or playpens, look for:

Remove the following items from the baby’s crib:

  • Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing.
  • Mesh with no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby.
  • Mesh securely attached to top rail and floor plate.
  • Top rail cover with no tears or holes.
  • If staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed

Keep babies out of adult beds.

You can avoid certain hazards by keeping the baby in a separate sleeping space:

  • Do not allow any baby less than two years of age to sleep in the same bed with you or any adult.
  • Return baby to the crib after breastfeeding in bed.
  • Make sure that babies less two years of age sleep in a crib.