Planning a Safe Place for Your Baby to Sleep

Throughout the first year of life, sleeping babies have died accidentally from: suffocation; smothering; wedging; being trapped under someone else while sharing a bed; being placed to sleep on a sleep surface not intended for an infant; and from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Babies sleep in many places. This is often based on cultural, traditional, or personal reasons. Regardless of where babies sleep, all babies need a safe sleep environment.

Safe sleep for your baby is as simple as ABC.  Click on photo to hear the PSA.

It was more than thirteen years ago that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its first policy statement on reducing the risk of SIDS. The statement recommended that all healthy infants be placed on their backs to sleep in order to reduce the risks of SIDS.  Since then, the percentage of infants placed on their backs to sleep has increased dramatically, and the rates of SIDS have declined by more than 50 percent. Since the AAP published its Year 2000 statement on SIDS several issues have become relevant, including the significant risk of side sleeping position. The AAP no longer recognizes side sleeping as a reasonable alternative to fully supine sleeping.

In October 2011, the AAP published its most recent recommendations for infant sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sudden infant deaths:

Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing. The details of the rule are available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website. The new rules also apply to cribs currently in use at child care centers and places of public accommodation. By December 28, 2012, these facilities must use only compliant cribs that meet the new federal safety standards.


Policy Statement, SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infants Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011.
SIDS Resources Inc.
First Candle
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services brochure titled “Safe Sleep for Your Baby” is available on the Department website, brochure #674 (English) or brochure #811 (Spanish) can be downloaded here.
Missouri Children’s Trust Fund.  Safe Sleep and Shaken Baby video