Sleep Safety

Learn The ABCs of Infant Sleep Safety

Babies sleep a lot–sometimes up to 17 hours a day. Sounds like a nice life. Since your baby is going to be snoozing so much, it’s important for you and any caregivers to learn the ABCs of infant sleep safety.

Steps to Safety

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  • ABC: Alone, Back, Crib

    • A is for Alone. Make sure your baby never sleeps with you, another adult, child, or pet.
    • B is for Back. Until they confidently roll over, babies should sleep on their backs every time. Don’t worry–this position won’t increase the risk of choking.
    • C is for Crib. Babies should sleep in a safe crib, bassinet, or play yard–never an adult bed, chair or couch. The crib or bassinet should contain only a firm, well-fitting mattress and a tight fitted sheet and should be free of anything that could block their nose and mouth or get wrapped around their neck, including:
      • Blankets, pillows and quilts
      • Toys and stuffed animals
      • Bumpers, whether padded, mesh or breathable
      • Décor and accessories with cords or strings, such as hanging mobiles, name banners and baby monitors
  • More Crib Safety Tips

    • Use a crib manufactured after 2011 that meets the most current safety standards, for instance:
      • Slats should be less than 2 3/8 inches apart.
      • Don’t use a crib with broken parts or chipped paint.
      • Avoid cribs with decorative finials or posts.
      • Steer clear of drop-side models.
    • No more than 2 fingers should fit between the mattress and the crib itself.
    • You can keep up to date on the latest safety standards for cribs here.
  • What About Bassinets?

    • Unlike standard cribs, bassinets are smaller and easier to move. They’re a good option for young infants so your baby can sleep safely in the same room with you.
    • Select a bassinet with a firm mattress that fits snugly, without space around the edges.
    • Make sure the base is strong and sturdy so that the bassinet can’t tip over.
    • To be extra safe, get a bassinet that doesn’t rock or incline.
    • Always follow manufacturer recommendations for age and weight in order to know when to move a baby up to a crib.
    • Always check for recalls and review the latest safety standards.
    • We don’t recommend vintage bassinets. They may look stylish, but they’re probably not up to the latest safety standards.
    • Consider moving a baby to a crib when your baby:
      • Turns one month old
      • Reaches 10 pounds
      • Starts to sit up
  • Got a play yard?

    • To make it safe for sleeping, follow the directions exactly when you set it up.
    • Use only the mattress that comes with the play yard. Don’t add an additional mattress or play-yard toppers.
    • If you’re using a model with a removable “changing station,” be sure to follow the weight and height limitations.
    • Before naptime or bedtime, remember your ABCs and remove any toys or other items that could block your baby’s nose or mouth.
  • Wait, there's more!

    • For their first 6 months, infants should sleep in mom and dad’s room, but not in their bed.
    • Swings and car seats aren’t safe places to nap. If your baby nods off, move them to a safe space like a crib, bassinet or play yard.
    • Pacifiers are okay to use as long as they’re not hanging around the baby’s neck.
    • The safest sleepwear is a onesie sleeper or a snug sleep sack.
    • Want even more infant sleep safety tips? Check out this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Did You Know?


Babies should always be laid to sleep on their backs at naptime and bedtime until they’re a year old.

- American Academy of Pediatrics


Learn the ABC's of Infant Sleep Safety


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Content developed in association with:

Nationwide Childrens Hospital

For more information, go to Our Role.