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5 Tips for Safe Sleep for Babies

5 Tips for Safe Sleep for Babies


It’s a big topic for the parents of new babies, and one that can bring anxiety with each new evening. In addition to questioning when, if, and how your baby will sleep, it’s also important to consider sleep safety. There are a few important things to remember when putting your baby to sleep:

  • ALONE. Your baby should sleep alone in a crib or bassinet. The AAP recommends room sharing until your baby is at least six months old, meaning the crib or bassinet is near enough to you that you can hear baby as they sleep. Remove any stuffed animals, blankets, bumpers, or pillows. Bed sharing puts babies at risk of suffocation, strangulation, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies have shown that bed sharing is the most common cause of death in babies three months and younger.
  • ON THEIR BACK. You should lay your baby down to sleep on their back. After three or four months, the baby may roll over in their sleep, but always start them on their back at nap and at bedtime.
  • IN A CRIB. Baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface in a crib or bassinet. Do not prop baby up on an incline or use wedges or devices marketed for SIDS prevention. Baby should never sleep in bed with an adult, sibling, or pet.
  • NO SMOKING. Babies are at a higher risk of SIDS if their caregivers or others in their home smoke. Keep a smoke-free environment for your baby’s health. Remember that smokers carry secondhand smoke on their clothing and skin, which poses risks to your baby even if they smoked at a different location. Ask visitors to wash their hands before touching your baby, and request they not smoke before visiting.
  • BREASTFEEDING is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, if possible. (But remember—fed is best. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, our lactation consultants can help! Call 540.741.4465 or click here to schedule a consultation with one of our certified lactation consultant nurses. Consultations are covered by most insurances.)

Mary Washington Hospital has been recognized as a Safe Sleep Leader by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program since 2019 and is dedicated to the safe sleep of all babies in the community we serve. Our team educates new parents on the best practices for safe sleep, so that everyone can rest easier. For more education on safe sleep practices, visit