What Is the Safest Way for Babies to Sleep?

Updated Oct 28th 2022 | timer 6  min read

Baby Sleep Safety
Elissa Gross

Medically Reviewed By medical-check-mark Elissa Gross Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

Mandy Treeby

Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant

We all know that babies need to sleep a lot, but how do you make sure your baby is sleeping safely. If you’re like most parents, you have a lot of questions about how to keep your baby safe when they sleep, like What are the top tips to keep your baby safe when they sleep? Can babies sleep on their side? And can I sleep with my baby? This article answers all of those questions, and more!


IN THIS ARTICLE:


How Do I Put My Baby Down Safely at Night?

To keep your baby safe at night, remember your ABCs”/baby sleep safety ABCs

Alone: Your baby should sleep alone in their crib.
Back to Sleep: Put your baby on their back to sleep until they can roll over both belly-to-back and back-to-belly.
Clear Crib: Keep your baby’s crib clear of blankets, pillows, toys and anything else soft until they are 12 months old. Your baby’s crib should only have a flat, fitted sheet.

How Do I Keep My Baby Comfortable at Night?

You can help your baby sleep better by making sure they are warm, dry, and cozy.

Here are some tips:

  • Diaper Change: It’s best to make sure your baby has a fresh, dry diaper before bed.
  • Room Temperature: Along the same lines, babies and adults both sleep best when the room is between 68-72° F.
  • Darkness: Even a little bit of light can disrupt your baby’s sleep, so be sure to invest in blackout curtains to keep your baby’s room as dark as possible.

Sleep safety is the cornerstone of sleep fundamentals, for help with sleep safety, and setting your baby up for sleep success from day one, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers app. Co-developed with pediatricians and sleep experts it will not only help ensure you have the safest possible sleep environment for your little one, but it will also help you make sure their sleep space is condusive to sleep and that their sleep schedule is in tune with their biological clock.

Why Can’t Babies Have Pillows?

Pillows and other soft substances pose a suffocation hazard.

When Can My Baby Sleep with Stuffed Animals?

You can start putting stuffed animals (their favorite stuffy) or teddy bears in your baby’s crib when they’re 12 months old.

When is it Safe for a Baby to Sleep with a Blanket?

At 12 months you can add a blanket to your baby’s crib.

When Is It Safe for My Baby to Sleep on Their Stomach?

You should always put your baby to sleep on their back, but sometimes babies will naturally roll over onto their stomach. Babies can sleep on their stomachs only after they can roll over both ways, which usually happens around 6 months.

If your baby cannot roll over both ways and they migrate to their belly at night, gently adjust them back onto their back.

Is it Safe for My Baby to Sleep in a Swing?

No. It’s safest for babies to sleep on a flat, firm surface, such as a crib or a blanket on the floor during naps. If your baby falls asleep in their swing, gently move them to their crib.

Is It Safe for Babies to Sleep in a Car Seat?

While it is perfectly fine for your baby to sleep in a car seat for short periods of time – in fact, many parents use a short car ride to help babies fall asleep – it is safest for your baby to sleep in their crib with a flat, fitted sheet. If your baby is asleep in their car seat when you arrive home, it is recommended (and safest) to transfer them to their crib.

Is it Safe for Babies to Sleep on Their Side?

No. Babies should sleep flat on their backs until they can roll over both ways.

Are Sleep Sacks Safe for Babies Who Can Roll Over?

Yes, sleep sacks that leave your babies arms and legs free are safe for babies who can roll over.

Is It Safe to Co-Sleep?

No. Co-sleeping, also known as bed-sharing, is not safe for your baby. If you co-sleep, your baby can get tangled in the sheets, suffocate on a pillow, or you may roll over them, injuring your baby. Instead of co-sleeping, considering room-sharing.

When Is It Safe for a Baby to Sleep with a Pacifier?

Yes, it’s safe for your baby to sleep with a pacifier from day one, in fact evidence suggests that the use of a pacifier at this age can reduce the risk of SIDS.

Tip: If your baby uses a pacifier, you can prevent sleep disruptions by placing extra pacifiers in their crib at night. This will make it easier for them to find one if they wake up and reach out for one.

What is Room Sharing with a Baby?

Room sharing with your baby is when you keep your baby’s crib in your room.

What are the Benefits of Room Sharing?

There are many benefits to room sharing

  1. Easier Night Feedings: By keeping your baby in your room, you make night feedings far easier – you walk less and therefore wake less!
  2. Reduces SIDS: The APP recommends room sharing until 12 months of age as it is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS in babies by 50%

What is SIDS?

SIDS, short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a mysterious phenomenon in which a healthy baby will suddenly, unexpectedly pass in their sleep. Though scary, SIDS is rare – about 1 in 1,000 – and there are ways to reduce the risk of SIDS:

How Do I Prevent SIDS in My Baby?

Back Sleeping: Sleeping flat on their back on a firm mattress helps prevent SIDS in babies.

Tip: If your baby rolls onto their stomach in their sleep and they cannot roll over both ways while awake, go in and gently turn them over to place them back on their back.

Avoid Overheating: Overheating is shown to increase a baby’s SIDS risk. To keep your baby safe while they sleep, dress them only in one more layer than you’re wearing. Also, keep their room between 68-72° F.

Firm Mattress: Keep your baby safe at night by placing them on a flat, firm mattress with a well fitted sheet.

Bare Bed: Your baby’s bed should be clear of sheets, blankets, toys, pillows, bumpers and anything else except for a well fitted sheet – and your baby, of course!

Breast Feed When Possible: Not every parent can breastfeed, but if you are able to, breastfeeding is shown to reduce SIDS risk in babies.

Room Share: Room sharing may reduce SIDS risk by up to 50%.

No Bed-Sharing: We can’t reiterate enough that bed sharing is dangerous for your baby, your baby should always be in their own, safe sleeping space and not in your bed.

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Studies show that holding your baby against your skin can reduce SIDS risk. Plus, it’s a great bonding experience in general.

Pacifiers: Pacifiers can also reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Don’t Rely on a Baby Monitor: While many modern baby monitors claim to monitor breathing and of course can alert you if your baby is crying, there is not a monitor that can alert you of SIDS or prevent SIDS.

FAQs

How can I ensure my baby is sleeping safely?

Remember the ABCs of baby sleep safety: A) Alone in bed; B) On their backs; C) Crib is clear of blankets, pillows, toys. Your baby’s crib should only have a flat, fitted sheet their first year.

Why Do Pacifiers Reduce Risk?

It’s believed pacifiers reduce SIDS risk because pacifiers make your baby thrust their tongue forward, which makes breathing a bit easier.

What is the Best Lying Position for Babies?

Always place your baby on their backs to sleep until they’re 1-year old.

What is the peak age for SIDS?

While SIDS can strike up babies 1 month to 1 year old, this phenomenon typically happens between 2-4 months.

Sources

“Safe to Sleep: A Guide,” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development .
“Same room, separate beds to decrease SIDS,” Journal of Pediatrics.
“Safe Sleep Recommendations,” American Academy of Pediatrics.

Disclaimer:

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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