Sleep-related death, including suddent infant death syndrome (SIDS), is a leading cause of death for babies under one year of age. There are ways to reduce the risk of death during sleep. Austin Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the following tips to keep your baby safe while sleeping.

Back to sleep

Sleep-related infant deaths have been reduced by 50% since suggesting babies sleep on their backs. Babies should be placed on their backs for every sleep time – naps and bedtime. If a baby rolls on their own from back to stomach, leaving the baby that way is okay if  they are rolling from tummy to back on their own.

Place baby on a firm surface

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, bassinet, play yard, or portable crib that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards. The surface should be firm and not indent when the baby is lying on it. Couches, arm chairs, and adult beds are very risky places for a baby to sleep because they increase the chance of the baby's airway becoming blocked during sleep.

Baby should sleep alone

Nothing other than the baby should be in the crib. Pillows, quilts, comforters, blankets, bumper pads, and loose bedding can increase the risk of your baby getting entrapped, strangled, or suffocated during sleep. Instead of blankets, your baby can use a sleep sack or wearable blanket. A baby should not sleep with other adults or children because they could roll on top of the baby and block their airway.

Room share but don't bed share

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing your baby's crib, bassinet, play yard, or portable crib in your bedroom because room sharing can decrease the risk of SIDS. Room sharing will also make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby. If you bring your baby into bed to feed or comfort, make sure there are no pillows or blankets that could cover your baby's face. Once you are done comforting or feeding, return your baby to their own sleep surface.

Don't let your baby get too hot

Your baby should only be dressed in one layer more than you. Don't use blankets and keep the room at a cozy temperature that is not too hot or too cold.

Breastfeed your baby

Breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about six months. When you add solid foods to your baby's diet, keep breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire.

For more information and for breastfeeding support contact Mom's Place.

  • To make an appointment, call 512-972-6700
  • For our toll-free Breastfeeding Hotline, call 1-800-514-MOMS (6667)

Keep your baby away from smoke

Smoking during pregnancy or after your baby is born is harmful. Keep your baby away from smoke and do not allow others to smoke near your baby. Quitting is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

If you need help quitting, visit Live Tobacco-Free Austin.

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Does your baby need a safe place to sleep?

Austin Public Health, in partnership with community hospitals and clinics, can provide portable cribs to qualifying families. Contact for eligibility requirements and additional information.

How to set up your portable crib

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ABC's of Infant Sleep
Tips for grandparents
Consejos para abuelos