700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

The ABC's of Safe Sleep

Oct 12, 2021
baby sleeping

There are so many things for parents to research and learn before welcoming a new baby into the family. One of the most important things is safe sleep. Babies sleep a lot and there are a few steps to follow to make their sleep space a safe place.

Follow the ABCs of safe sleep: Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, in a Crib. Let’s break these down:

Alone

Babies should sleep by themselves, in their own sleep space with no other people. Room-sharing is recommended but bedsharing is not. Keep pillows, blankets, toys, stuffed animals, and all other soft items out of the sleep space. Babies can use a pacifier in the crib if it is not attached to the baby, their clothes, or any part of the crib. If a pacifier falls out of their mouth, that’s ok.

Back

Place infants on their backs for sleep. They will eventually learn how to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back. Once they can confidently roll over both ways on their own, it’s ok to leave them like that, but always place them on their back initially.

Crib

Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet. That’s it! The crib should not have bumpers of any kind, and nothing should be attached to the crib, such as a monitor or a mobile. Babies can sleep in a swaddle until they’re 8 weeks old and a sleep sack with their arms out after that.

Avoid letting baby sleep on a couch or armchair, or in another device like a swing or bouncer. Sleeping in a car seat is ok, but only while riding in the car. Babies should be removed from the car seat and placed in a crib once the trip is done.

As with any baby products, do your research, check for recalls, register your product, and read the manual before using a new or used crib, play yard, or other product. Read more about nursery safety here. Always ask your child’s pediatrician if you have questions or concerns about your baby’s sleep quality, quantity, or environment.

Learn more about Safe Sleep Practices for Babies.

Looking for Answers to More Parenting Questions?
Sign-Up for Our Health e-Hints Newsletter

Featured Expert

Laura Dattner
Center for Injury Research and Policy

Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.

All Topics

Browse by Author

About this Blog

Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.