Safe Sleep For Your Baby

Safe sleep practices are the things you can do to make sure your baby is as safe as they can be while they are sleeping, to prevent SUID and SIDS.

Safe Sleep Saves Lives

SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) are terms that describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation.

These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby's sleep area.Most sleep-related deaths happen when babies are between 1 and 4 months old, and the majority (90%) happen before a baby reaches 6 months of age.

Experts recommend that you follow the safe sleep practices outlined here until your baby turns one.

Safe Sleep Resources

There is a lot of research and data available about safe sleep practices. To learn more about how you can keep your baby safe, and how we know these practices make a difference, visit these helpful resources:

To Keep Your Baby Safe, Remember the ABC's

Babies should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib, in a smoke free place.


Babies are safest when they sleep alone.

  • No blankets, pillows, toys, stuffed animals, bumpers or any other items in the crib with them
  • Babies should never sleep with other people
  • Your baby will be safe (and comfortable!) in a crib with a firm, flat mattress, a fitted sheet, and nothing else
  • Instead of a blanket, you can use a swaddle (until your baby can roll, around 2-4 months) or a sleep sack (also called a wearable blanket)


We know that babies who sleep under a soft covering, such as a soft blanket or quilt, are more likely to die of SIDS or suffocation. These deaths are more likely when soft objects, toys, and blankets are in the baby's sleep area.

B - Back

Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep, at night time and for naps. Doing this has been proven to decrease the risk of sleep-related deaths

  • Doctors recommend you place your baby to sleep on their back until they turn one
  • When your baby starts to roll over on their own during sleep (from back to stomach or stomach to back) you do not need to move them, but you should still always place them to sleep on their back


Research from many countries shows that babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs are more likely to die of SIDS. The exact reason for this is not known, but there have been dramatic decreases in SIDS rates in all countries that have advised parents to only place their babies to sleep on their backs.


Babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet.

  • Never place your baby to sleep on soft surfaces like an adult bed, couch, pillow, quilt or blanket
  • Do not use a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, infant sling, or similar products as your baby's regular sleep area


Research shows that a high rate of infants involved in sleep-related deaths were found in places not approved for infant sleep


  • Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • If someone in your family smokes, ask them to do it outside and away from your baby


Research shows that infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at a greater risk for SIDS.

Funding provided in part by the Illinois Department of Public Health

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