Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Infants

Use the ABC’s of safe sleep for your baby recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Your baby should always sleep Alone.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the same room with you or another caregiver, but not the same bed.
  • Your baby should sleep alone in an empty crib with no bumpers, blankets or toys.
Your baby should always be put to sleep on his or her Back.
  • Babies should sleep on their backs and have observed tummy time on their stomachs.
  • Be sure your bedroom is not overheated.
  • Your room should always be smoke-free.
  • Place babies facing alternating directions to discourage resting on the same side of the head each night. For example, one night place the baby so his or her head is resting on the right side of the crib and the next night place the baby so his or her head is resting on the left side of the crib.
Your baby should always sleep in a Crib or bassinet that meets safety standards.
  • Use a crib or bassinet that meets safety standards.
  • Have a firm surface for sleeping.
  • Be sure the crib is empty.
  • Avoid using sleep positioning devices.

Back is best when it comes to your baby. Safe sleeping awareness has greatly reduced the number of cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, since the 1990s, but we must be vigilant to continue the trend. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its recommendations for safe sleeping practices for infants in 2016, calling for infants to share bedrooms – but not beds – with caregivers until they are one year of age.

According to the AAP, approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ill-defined deaths; and accidental suffocation and strangulation. The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years.

In addition to its safe sleep recommendations, the AAP also encourages skin-to-skin bonding immediately after birth for at least the first hour. Also, breastfeeding is encouraged as the optimal feeding method and for protection against SIDS.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Women’s Health Initiative is supporting healthy mothers and healthy babies in Mississippi, including encouraging breastfeeding and having a healthy pregnancy that lasts at least 39 weeks. Learn more in the Women’s Health section.

Learn more about the AAP’s Safe Sleep recommendations.

This video provides valuable information on the ABC’s of safe sleep for infants.

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