First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Biomedical Research Building
11000 Cedar Avenue - 4th Floor Cleveland, OH 44106

Phone 216-368-4837
Home Solutions Eliminating Sleep-Related Deaths Safe Sleep Tips

Safe Sleep Tips

Know your safe sleep ABCDs. Babies should always sleep Alone (A), on their Back (B), in a Crib (C) and have caregivers that Don't smoke (D).

Follow the ABCDs of safe sleeping

A - Alone — Babies should sleep alone.

Babies should sleep by themselves — and not in a bed or on a couch with you, their parents, siblings, or pets. Consider keeping your baby’s crib or a portable crib next to your bed — this keeps them safe and encourages bonding.

The crib should be empty — free of toys, blankets, pillows and bumpers. Keep bedding and toys out of the crib as they can increase your baby’s risk of suffocation. Also be sure your baby cannot pull anything into their crib, such as cords, mobiles or decorations. 

Remember: the same room is okay, but the same bed is not!

B - Back — Place your baby on their back to sleep.

Always place your baby on their back at bedtime. Even if your baby can roll over, it is safest to place them on their back and if they need to turn over, let them get in that position on their own. Tummy time is great when they are awake, but only when it is play time!

C - Crib — Use a safe, firm sleeping surface.

Your baby should be sleeping in a clean, empty crib, bassinet, or portable crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress. Remove any bedding, bumpers or stuffed animals.

Don’t worry about using expensive positioning devices or sleep aids. All your baby needs is a firm sleeping surface with a snug fitted sheet. Only use a crib or bassinet purchased after June 28, 2011, or that is compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s regulations.

  • Check to see if your crib is safe. Make sure there are no gaps between the sides of the crib and the mattress. You can check this by measuring with two fingers between the two.
  • Place the crib away from cords. This includes windows with blinds, curtain cords and baby monitor cords.
  • Make sure the crib has been assembled and installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    D - Don’t smoke — and if you smoke, try to quit.

    If you smoke, they smoke. Try to quit for the safety of your baby, and encourage others to as well.

    If other caregivers or family members do smoke, they should always smoke outside and change their clothes before being around your baby. Smoking outside is not enough. Even when the smoke clears, the chemicals found in cigarette smoke can last days or even weeks on clothing, furniture, hair and walls. 

    Babies who are exposed to second-hand smoke become more susceptible to developing respiratory problems and are more at risk of sleep-related death. Chemicals from smoke may build up in the arousal center of a baby's brain, making it hard for them to wake up if they are having trouble breathing. 

    Breastfeeding is a protective factor against sleep-related infant death. The USDA WIC website has one of the most comprehensive, user-friendly resources for breastfeeding parents, expectant parents, and supportive community members.

    Related Resources

    Toolkit for Families & Communities 
    Download PDF

    Toolkit for Practitioners  
    Download PDF

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