Safe Sleep for Infants

Photo by: Adrienne Randall A mom snuggling with her daughter.

ROCKLAND, Maine -- As parents and caregivers, we want what is best for our babies. There are many things we can do to ensure their safety, such as following recommendations to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Statistics show that as many as 80 to 90 percent of the more than 4,500 infants deaths were the result of unsafe sleep practices, meaning these were preventable deaths (First Candle).

SIDS happens when a baby is 12 months or younger dies during their sleep without any warning signs or a clear reason. SIDS can be a parent's worst nightmare, but there are a number of things that experts recommend doing to help reduce the risk (WebMD). Some are listed below:

  • Always put your baby on their back to sleep, every time. Tell this to others who may help take care of your baby so they do the same, every time.
  • Place your baby on a firm crib mattress, playpen or bassinet without soft bedding, toys or crib bumpers. These items are dangerous to babies.
  • Don't smoke around your baby and don't let others smoke around your baby.
  • Keep your sleeping baby close, but not in your bed. Are you a mom who breastfeeds in bed during the night? Make sure you put your baby back in their own sleeping area.
  • Keep your baby's immunizations up-to-date.
  • Avoid sleep positioners, wedges or any product claiming to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Have you ever wondered what "sleeping like a baby" means? Babies require around 16 to 18 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, while adults on the other hand, need about 6 to 8 hours each night (Baby Fit). It's normal for a baby to sleep 3 to 4 hours at a time and wake for a feeding and diaper change. The most significant brain and body growth occurs during sleep (Manlove, 2010). Often times it is our perception as parents that the ways our babies are sleeping is not normal, but the fact is that it is completely normal and every child is different.

Maine Families and the Teen and Young Parent Program strive to provide the safest, most up-to-date information to enrolled families. If you are pregnant or have a newborn at home and are interested in what our program offers, please call us at (207) 594-1980 or toll-free within Maine at 1-877-972-5804.


Sources by Spark People:
First Candle:
Manlove, George, "Broken Sleep," UMaine Today, Spring 2010, 6.
USA Today:

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