Safe Sleep

Sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of infant death between birth and 18 months of age. In Osceola County, unsafe sleep practices are the second leading cause of child fatality. Many of these deaths are preventable.

Sleep Environment

  • Always place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Crib slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart, so if a coke can fits in between the slats, the slats are too far apart. Your baby’s head could get trapped in more widely spaced slats.
  • Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
  • Never use soft bedding, comforters, pillows, loose sheets, blankets, sheep skins, toys or bumper pads in the crib. These items could cause your baby to suffocate .
  • Keep cords from window blinds, shades and baby monitors out of reach.
  • Sharing their parents’ bedroom, but in their own crib or bassinet, is recommended at least until the baby is 6 months old and preferable until age 1.
  • Bed-sharing/Co-sleeping is not recommended. It increases your baby’s chance of a sleep related death
  • Babies should sleep alone. Sleeping with adults, other children, pets, and with adult bedding can cause the baby to suffocate.

Sleep Position

  • Place your baby on his back for every sleep, night time and nap time.
  • Do not put your baby to sleep on his side or tummy.
  • Once your baby can roll from his back to tummy and tummy to back, your baby can stay in the sleep position that he assumes. But always place your baby to sleep on his back.
  • When your baby sleeps on his back, the “air pipe” (trachea) lies on top of the “food pipe” (esophagus) (Figure 1). If your baby spits up, it is harder for the spit up to go into the “air pipe” when your baby is on his back. However, when your baby sleeps on his stomach and spits up, it is easier for him to choke because the spit up can go right into the “air pipe” (Figure 2)
    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Figure 2

    Figure 2


    Practice the ABC’s of safe sleep: Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib.

    Helpful resources to learn more information about preventing sleep-related causes of infant death include:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations to Protect Against SIDS, Sleep-Related Infant Deaths
  • “How to Guide” on Buying the Best Baby Cribs
  • What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like?
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