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Acute Care

Sleep Dangers

  • Dr. Page

In a world full of new gadgets, devices, electronics, that boast making lives easier for parents and help babies sleep, do you ever stop and ask yourself, “Is this truly safe for my baby?” In the United States, about 3,500 babies die in sleep related deaths each year due to unsafe sleep environments. The rates of SIDS has decreased from 1990-2015 but the rates of accidental strangulation and suffocation has INCREASED 184% in the same time period. What can you do to make sure your baby is as safe as possible during sleep?

On October 24, 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendations for a safe infant sleep environment. Here are the major points to decrease the risk of SIDS & suffocation:

    Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep every single time.

    • If your baby rolls from back to tummy, he can be left in that position ONLY if he can roll from back to tummy AND tummy to back on his own.
    • Even babies with reflux should sleep on their back
  • Sleep surface should be flat and firm
    • Remove your baby from the car seat, stroller, infant carrier as soon as possible if she falls asleep and place on a firm flat sleeping surface.
  • Keep the sleep environment as bare as possible, which means no crib bumpers (even mesh ones), blankets, soft bedding, toys, etc.
  • Share your bedroom with your baby, but not the same bed, at least for the first 6 months but up to 1 year.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, for as long as you can.
  • Use a pacifier during sleep/naps for the first year of life. For those who are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is established.
  • Do not use monitors or commercial devices (such as wedges, positioners, oxygen monitors) that are marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS
    • They have NOT been found to reduce the risk of SIDS and can give parents a false sense of security.
  • Make sure your baby goes to all the recommended well child checks and receive all immunizations on a timely basis.
  • Keep your baby away from smokers and smoking environments.
    • If you smoke, obtain help from your doctor to help you quit. In the meantime, make sure your car and home are smoke-free
  • Avoid getting your baby too hot.
    • Generally, a maximum of once extra layer than you would wear is recommended


  1. Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation. www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx
  2. How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained. www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx
  3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800
  4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sids.html#
    National and State Trends in Suddent Unexpected Infant Death: 1990-2015. Alexa B. Erck Lambert, Sharyn E. Parks, Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza
  5. American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations to Protect against SIDS. www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-safe-sleep-recommendations-to-protect-against-sids.aspx