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Safe Sleep for Babies

baby laying in crib, sleeping safely
Every year, between 40 and 50 babies in New York City die from a sleep-related injury.  That's almost one baby every week. The good news is these deaths are preventable. Read below to learn more about sleep-related injury deaths and how to safely put your baby to sleep.

What is a Sleep-Related Injury Death?

A sleep-related injury death is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year old that occurs because of where and/or how they were placed to sleep. Sleep-related infant injury death is not the same as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or “crib death.” SIDS is the natural death of a baby that cannot be explained after a careful medical review of the case. Unlike SIDS, sleep-related infant injury deaths involve accidents that can be explained and are mostly preventable.

Creating a Safe Sleep Environment

Here are the most recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), issued in October 2016, for where and how to safely place your baby to sleep:

Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep.


Avoid sharing a bed with your baby.


Use a firm sleep surface with a fitted sheet made for that specific product.


Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any other items that could increase the risk of suffocation out of the baby's sleep area.


Be sure to checkout our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

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Watch Breath of Life, a Safe Sleep Video:

Aliento De Vida: Por Qué El Sueño Seguro Es Importante Y Cómo Practicar El Sueño Seguro

Watch Breath of Life by Subject:

In many ways, the Coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing health inequities for families of color, which stem from the effects of systemic racism on the health of black families in particular. Black families are twice as likely as white families to have their baby die in the first year of life and sadly, NYC still loses 41 babies each year due to this persistent, yet preventable problem.

In our first-ever virtual Infant Safe Sleep Summit held in October 2020 during Safe Sleep Awareness Month, weekly presenters focused on the theme: "Closing the Gap: An Intersectional Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality," to examine the intersecting influences that adversely impact infant survival.

During this webcast series experts, advocates and practitioners shared up-to-date analysis on how institutional racism affects infant mortality. The 2020 Safe Sleep Summit Briefing Book, produced for the series, celebrates a decade of action focused on reducing sleep-related injuries and death during a child's first year of life. It includes outreach strategies, best practices and resources; and honors six practitioners who have heroically championed safe sleep throughout the year. Coming soon: video documentation of the sessions.

View Safe Sleep Posters:

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