For infants and babies under 12 months of age, follow these practices to reduce the risk of your baby SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and prevent suffocation:

  • Place baby on his/her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the crib
  • Consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket
  • If you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering only as high as his/her chest
  • Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for crib use

Check Your Crib for Safety

There should be:

  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress so the infant cannot get trapped between the mattress and the crib
  • No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support
  • No more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats so a baby’s body cannot fit through the slats;
    • Make sure there are no missing or cracked slats
  • No corner posts over 1/16th inch high so a baby’s clothing cannot get caught in the corner
  • No cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby’s head cannot get trapped
  • Never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress
    • Adult sheets can come loose and present an entanglement hazard to young children.

Strangulation with Crib Toys

Crib gyms, exercisers, kickers, and similar toys are attractive additions to a child’s environment, but they are DANGEROUS as well.

The risk of strangulation begins when children are just starting to push up on hands and knees, usually about 5 months old. These children can pull themselves up to a hanging crib toy and become entangled or fall forward over it; but they cannot disentangle them- selves, support their own weight, or lift themselves off the toy. The results can be injury or death.

Completely remove such toys from the crib or playpen. Do not merely untie one end and allow the toy to dangle because strangulation is still a possibility.

Soft Bedding May Be Hazardous To Babies

To prevent infant deaths due to soft bedding, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development are revising their recommendations on safe bedding practices when putting infants down to sleep.

Here are the revised recommendations to follow for infants under 12 months:

  • Place baby on his/her back on a firm tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like stuffed toys, and other soft products from the crib.
  • Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing as an alternative to blankets, with no other covering.
  • If using a blanket, put baby with feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest.
  • Make sure your baby’s head remains uncovered during sleep.
  • Do not place baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface to sleep.
  • Placing babies to sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs has been associated with a dramatic decrease in deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies have been found dead on their stomachs with their faces, noses, and mouths covered by soft bedding, such as pillows.

For mesh-sided cribs or playpens, look for:

  • Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby’s clothing
  • Mesh with no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby
  • Mesh securely attached to top rail and floor plate
  • Top rail cover with no tears or holes
  • If staples are used, make sure they are not missing, loose or exposed