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Safe Sleep for Babies

Thousands of infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. We often refer to these deaths as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Although the causes of death in many of these children can’t be explained, most occur while the infant is sleeping in an unsafe sleeping environment.

Important facts about sleep–related infant deaths in New York City:

  • Between 2004 and 2011, the majority of infant injury deaths were sleep-related.
  • Infants between 28 days and 4 months old, black non-Hispanic infants, babies born pre-term, and babies born to adolescent mothers were at a higher risk for sleep-related death than other infants.
  • While the rate of SIDS cases has gone down in the last decade, the number of infant deaths from a sleep-related injury has not changed in the past several years – every year an average of 48 infants die from a preventable sleep-related injury.

Learn more – Understanding Child Injury Deaths: 2013 Report NYC Child Fatality Review Advisory Team.

Creating a Safe Sleep Environment

Follow these guidelines to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby:

  • Always place your baby to sleep on her back.
  • Your baby should sleep in a safety-approved crib near your bed. Sleeping in the same room as your baby (room–sharing) is recommended, but sleeping on the same surface as your baby (bed-sharing) is not recommended.
  • Breastfeeding mothers should place their baby back into their crib before going to sleep.
  • Only your baby should be in the crib (no pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects). It is surprisingly easy for an infant to suffocate if its mouth or nose is covered.
  • Cribs should have a firm mattress with a fitted sheet only.
  • No smoking around your baby.

Stay close, but sleep apart.

Watch Safe Sleep video:


View Safe Sleep poster:

NYC Resources

For more information on safe sleep for babies, search “infant safety” at

Call 311 to order informational safe sleep magnets, available in English, Spanish, Creole, Chinese and French.

NYC Administration for Children’s Services

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Infant Safety

National Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Child Care America’s Safe Sleep Campaign

American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children

B’More for Healthy Babies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: SUID and SIDS

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Safe to Sleep Campaign

Policies, Reports, Legal Resources, & Journal Articles

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement

AAP article—Decisions of Black Parents about Infant Bedding and Sleep Surfaces: A Qualitative Study (Pediatrics Vol. 128 No. 3 September 1, 2011 pp. 494 -502)

National Conference of State Legislators

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education

Programs & Initiatives