Safe Sleep

Providing a safe sleep environment is the single most important step you can take to reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and accidental infant deaths. The two leading causes of SIDS are re-breathing carbon dioxide and overheating.


When babies sleep on their tummy, or soft bedding or with other items are in their sleep area, exhaled carbon dioxide can build up around their head and face. Instead of breathing fresh air, the baby "re-breathes" exhaled air. Placing babies on their back to sleep eliminates the possibility for this exhaled air to build up. Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994, the percentage of infants placed on their backs to sleep has increased dramatically, and the overall SIDS rates have declined by more than 50 percent.


Overheating is another leading risk factor for SIDS. Take care not to overheat your baby with too much clothing or too warm a room. Babies are fine in whatever is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Adult beds greatly increase the risk for re-breathing and overheating. Research shows that the risk is high even if the baby is sleeping on his or her back.


Safe sleep education can reduce the number of sudden, unexpected infant deaths in the U.S. by as much as 50 percent. Click on the links below to learn more.

The Basics of Safe Sleeping

Read about a few bedtime basics that can help keep your baby safe and well-rested.

Safe Sleep Recommendations

There are several things that the American Academy of Pediatrics, St.Vincent Women’s and our Neonatology and Pediatric staff suggest with regard to safe sleeping.

Crib Safety

Crib accidents contribute to more than 9,000 injuries and 50 deaths among children in the U.S. each year. There is a growing national awareness about the need to prevent crib-related injuries and deaths.