Healthy infants should be placed on their backs to sleep. Sleeping on their stomach may push an infant's face into the bedding, blocking their breathing passages. Sleeping on their back keeps their nose and mouth uncovered. This is important at home and in child care.
Healthy infants are not in danger of spitting up or choking while sleeping on their backs. In fact, the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has decreased by over 50 percent since the Back-to-Sleep Campaign (now called "Sleep Safe" began in 1994.
As infants grow older, they may turn over and sleep on their tummies sometimes. This is okay. It is still important that they be placed on their backs when put in cribs.
Infants with certain medical conditions or malformations may need to be placed on their sides or stomachs. Their doctor will tell you if infants should sleep in a different position.
Infants need lots of tummy time while they are awake. Tummy time helps promote muscle and motor development. Infants who stay on their backs all the time (even when awake) can develop flat areas on the backs of their heads. Tummy time helps prevent this.
All infants should have their own beds. When they sleep in their own cribs, they get more sleep. Infants should not sleep with adults or older children. Larger persons could roll over and injure or suffocate infants.
Make sure infants' cribs are safe. Follow these guidelines:
Check for openings that could trap infants' heads. There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches between crib railings.
Cribs should have solid headboards and footboards; cut-out openings could trap infants' heads.
Corner posts must not protrude more than 1/16 inch above the headboard or footboard.
check hardware regularly; be sure it is secure and tightened. Be sure it is secure and tightened. Be sure there are no screws or bolts sticking out or any protrusions that could catch clothing/
Watch for peeling paint, splinters, or rough edges.
Help avoid suffocation. Use properly fitted crib sheets that do not come loose. Dress infants in footed pajamas. Blankets are prohibited from being in cribs in licensed child care programs. Pillows and/or stuffed toys are also prohibited in the crib. This includes stuff animals on pacifiers.
Never put infants on beanbags, pillows, waterbeds, feather beds, or soft comforters or cushions. They can suffocate infants if their noses become blocked.
Children can strangle on loose cords and strings.
Never tie necklaces or pacifiers around children's necks.
Window blind cords should be out of children's reach.
Remove drawstrings from children's clothing. Drawstrings can catch on play equipment, fences, or other objects and cause strangulation.
Never leave plastic bags where children can reach them.