Babies spend a lot of time sleeping, so it is important to provide a safe sleep environment for them. Any parent is anxious to make their baby as comfortable during sleep as possible. However, some common steps for a cozy bed may increase the chance of serious problems.

Certain items in and around the crib can be a suffocation hazard to infants. These items may be harmless to older children but infants have smaller airways and less head control. This means they may not be able to reposition themselves if their access to air is blocked, even by something as simple as a blanket. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps to make your baby's sleep environment much safer without disturbing your baby's sleep.

Making Your Baby’s Bed Safe

All parents and caregivers should be aware of the possible hazards associated with sleeping.

Here are some tips to making your baby's sleep safer from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When putting a baby less than one year of age to sleep, make sure that you place the baby on his or her back. Sleeping on the stomach has been associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Children under 6 months old are at increased risk because they are unable to reposition themselves.

Note: When your child is awake, it is okay for your baby to have supervised play time on their belly. This will help your baby develop some posture muscles.

Do not place the baby to sleep on a soft surface such as:

  • Waterbed
  • Sofa
  • Soft mattress
  • Pillow

A safe crib will have:

  • No missing or broken hardware, and slats no more than 2-3/8" apart
  • No corner posts over 1/16" high
  • No cutout designs in the headboard or footboard
  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • A safety certification seal

Remove soft products from the baby’s crib such as:

  • Loose blankets or sheets—consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing instead of blankets
  • Pillows
  • Quilts
  • Comforters
  • Sheepskins
  • Bumper pads
  • Stuffed toys
  • Sleep positioners. They are unnecessary and pose a danger.

Note: Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for the mattress.

For mesh-sided cribs or playpens, look for:

  • Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing
  • Mesh with no tears, holes, or loose threads that could entangle a baby
  • Mesh that is securely attached to top rail and floor plate
  • Top rail cover with no tears or holes
  • If staples are used, make sure they are not missing, loose, or exposed
  • Use the firm, tight-fitting mattress that came from the manufacturer

When infants sleep in adult beds, they are at increased risk for:

  • Getting trapped between the mattress and another object.
  • Getting trapped between the mattress and the wall.
  • Getting trapped in headboard or footboard rails.
  • Suffocation from soft items like clothing, blankets, pillows, and thick bedding.
  • Suffocation from co-sleeping parent.

Your baby can sleep in the same room as you, but do not sharethe bed.