Lesson 4 - Safe Sleep Policies

Child care providers who care for babies less than 12 months old should be aware of the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants and is most common in those who are one to four months old. The following guidelines should be followed to lower the risk of SIDS and increase the safety for infants in your care:

  • Infants should ALWAYS be placed on their back to sleep. They should not be put to sleep on their side, stomach, or propped in some way.
  • Infants should be placed on a firm sleep surface with fitted sheets, free of things that could make it difficult for them to breathe (e.g., soft bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers), and should be alone in the crib.
  • Infants should sleep in a room that is a comfortable temperature, in a range that would be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Do not let them get too hot.
  • Infants should sleep in an area that is always smoke-free

It is also important to talk with parents about how their baby sleeps and to share information about your safe sleep policy with them. You may be able to provide education and support to parents. If there are concerns or special situations that require different sleeping arrangements for an infant in your care, you may also need to request a letter from the child’s medical provider detailing any special arrangements that need to be made. To learn more about SIDS and safe sleep guidelines, click here.

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