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Safe Sleep For Your Baby

I will be the first to admit that I am probably the mom that lets her kids play a little too wild, the mom that tests the limits, the mom that does not take every precaution with my littles. However, growing up I was raised by a woman that took every precaution, watched my every step, and made every attempt to keep me safe in a world that was anything but that. I have no doubt in my mind that I am currently alive and breathing today because of her mama bear instincts and ability to take the necessary steps to create a safe place for me and my brother. As a pediatric sleep consultant a large part of my job is to educate my clients about safe sleep. There are so many different voices and opinions in the media that are inconsistent with health care messages which can create confusion and misinformation about infant sleep safety and may lead inadvertently to unsafe practices. My hope is to eliminate as much confusion as possible by laying out a few tips and guidelines for you to follow in order to create a safe sleep space for your baby.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep

The AAP recommends that babies sleep in their own sleep space Alone, instead of co-sleeping. In addition to sleeping in the own space, it is also recommended that babies be placed on their  Backs for all sleep. Laying baby on their side or their stomachs are not advised and could cause suffocation. Finally, always make sure that your baby’s Crib is empty. I know it is tempting to attach the cute crib bumpers, and line the crib with adorable stuffed animals, but those can be very hazardous and cause suffocation for baby. An easy way to remember these three tips is to use the acronym “ABC”.

Alone - Babies should always be on their own sleep surface. Bed sharing is a risk factor for SIDS and other sleep related deaths.

Back - Babies should be on their backs for every sleep.

Crib - The crib should be empty. This means no bumper pads, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, toys or supplies such as diapers and diaper wipes.

DO’s and DON’T’s of Safe Sleep


  • Always place your baby on a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet in a safe crib.
  • Decorate your baby’s room as you choose, but leave the crib or any other place where the baby sleeps empty.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back at bedtime and at nap time, even if they can roll over on their own.
  • Always put your baby to sleep in a separate but close-by safe place to sleep.
  • Room-sharing (your baby sleeps in your room on a separate safe surface, such as a bassinette, Pack ‘n Play®; or other safe sleep place) is a way to help prevent SIDS. AAP recommends sharing a bedroom with your baby until he is at least 6-12 months old.
  • Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. You may breastfeed your baby in bed with you, but always remember to put him back in his own separate safe place to sleep when you are finished nursing.
  • Keep sleeping rooms a comfortable temperature: If you are comfortable in the room, then your baby will be too. Try to keep your thermostat between 68-72 degrees.
  • Use a Sleep Sack instead of a blanket to keep baby warm.
  • Do lots of tummy time practice during the day to help strengthen baby’s back and neck muscles so he can lift his head and move it from side to side if he needs to.


  • Bed share: Bed sharing (sleeping in your bed with your baby) increases your baby’s chance of a sleep related infant death. Adult beds and bedding are soft and can cause the baby to suffocate, or an adult can roll over onto the baby, causing suffocation.
  • Never use soft bedding, comforters, pillows, loose sheets, blankets, etc. Do not put toys, positioners or bumpers in the crib or sleep area. The AAP recommends keeping a lovey out of the crib until baby is 12 months of age.
  • Babies should not sleep on couches, arm chairs or other soft sleep surfaces – they should be on a firm mattress in their own sleep space.
  • Avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations
  • Avoid overheating and head covering on infants. Overheating may cause problems with the control the baby’s brain has over breathing and waking up. Do not over-bundle your baby. He should not feel hot to the touch. Touch the back of the neck to determine whether or not baby feels too hot.
  • Do not use non-recommended sleeping product or placements

Recalled Products

If you are using a sleep aid product such as a Doc-a-Tot, Rock-N-Play, jumper, inclined sleeper, swing or wedge, know that these products are NOT recommended for prolonged or unattended sleep situations. These products are intended to be a space to lay baby when you are cooking dinner, folding laundry, or getting a quick work out in and are able to keep an eye on baby.

Keeping you and your family safe while sleeping is our number one priority. Make sure to keep these tips handy in case you are not sure about how to create the safest sleep environment for your little one.

About the author

Amanda Medley

Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.

Karianne Wanggaard

Sleep Well Sleep Specialists

Don't go through another night of bad sleep.

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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.

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