We’ve assembled a collection of tools and resources to help pediatricians and healthcare professionals provide education and guidance to parents and caregivers on infant safe sleep.
Infant Sleep Safety Overview
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the leading cause of injury death in infancy. Sleep is a big challenge for families with babies, but following safe sleep recommendations can prevent many SUID fatalities. Help the families in your practice learn how their babies can sleep safely so parents can sleep soundly.
The AAP provides evidence-based recommendations to prevent infant sleep deaths in the policy statement “Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment.” The evidence supporting those recommendations is outlined in an accompanying technical report.
Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment (Policy Statement)
Evidence Base for 2022 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleep Environment to Reduce the Risk of Sleep-Related Infant Deaths (Technical Report)
More About the Science
The rate of sleep-related infant death declined significantly in the 1990s after the AAP and others recommended that babies be placed on their backs to sleep, but rates have since plateaued, and SIDS remains the leading cause of postneonatal mortality. Black and Native American/Alaska Native infants die at rates more than double that of white babies. Pediatricians should support all families in implementing recommendations that reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death:
- Place infants on their backs for sleep in their own sleep space with no other people.
- Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet. Avoid sleep on a couch or armchair or in a seating device, like a swing or car safety seat (except while riding in the car).
- Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space.
- Breastfeed if possible, and avoid smoking.
Professional Tools & Resources
Because some communities experience higher rates of infant sleep-related deaths, the AAP has collaborated with a health communications firm to develop resources that speak directly to African American and American Indian/Alaska Native families. These resources are informed by interviews and focus groups with members of these communities.
The AAP is a partner with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development on its Safe to Sleep Campaign, formerly known as Back to Sleep, which provides resources for healthcare professionals.
Resources for Families
HealthyChildren.org offers articles to help parents learn what they need to know about safe sleep.
Resources for Communities
Charlie’s Kids Foundation
Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention
Section on Child Death Review and Prevention
Podcasts and Voices Blogs
Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.
New Guidance on Safe Sleep, Identifying Abuse in Youth Sports – Episode 118
In this episode Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, associate editor of digital media for the journal Pediatrics, describes updated guidance in the new Safe Sleep policy statement. Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, also talk with Kate Canty, MD, FAAP, about her Pediatrics Perspective on child abuse in youth sports.
Pediatrics on Call|
June 21, 2022
Safe Sleep after the NICU - Episode 74
Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, talk to Michael Goodstein, MD, FAAP, about best ways to model safe sleep as newborns transition out of the NICU.
Pediatrics on Call|
August 10, 2021
Safe Sleep - Episode 3
In the main interview segment, Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, talks about safe sleep, bedsharing, and tips for pediatricians to discuss sleep strategies with tired parents.
Pediatrics on Call|
June 25, 2020