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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Baby Care: Sleeping

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you place babies on their backs to sleep. This reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Lying on the back is the safest position for baby to sleep. Babies should not be placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep. There are some exceptions to this recommendation:

  • Those prematurely born
  • Those with excessive spitting up or vomiting
  • Others, as defined by a pediatrician.

If you have questions about sleeping positions, discuss them with your pediatrician or family physician. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Bureau of Family Health, named Woman's Hospital a "Safe SLeep Champion" for its efforts to help reduce the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Place babies on their stomachs when they are awake and when someone is watching. Tummy Time helps your baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger and helps to prevent flat spots on the head.

What does a safe sleep environment look like? [pdf]

Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death

  • Do not share the bed with your baby. Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Do not use wedges or positioners.
  • Keep the bedroom temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved* crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Do not use pillows, blankets, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby’s sleep area.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, and do not use a blanket.

Is your baby safe while sleeping?

Our Mommy-Go-Round blog post features East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark’s advice on preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with a few simple sleeping arrangement modifications.

* For more information on crib safety guidelines, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.

Safe to Sleep® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For more information about SIDS and the Safe to Sleep® campaign visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov

Safe to Sleep