Safe Sleep for Babies
Babies are dying in Niagara County in unsafe sleep conditions. During the past three years alone, 2019 – 2021, 10 babies died in sleep conditions that were not safe and not recommended for infants.
Of these 10 children:
- 6 were girls
- 4 were boys
- 8 were under the age of 6 months
- 3 were under the age of 3 months
- In 9 of these incidents, the child was sleeping on an unsafe sleeping surface such as an adult bed, couch, or chair.
- 6 were sharing a sleeping surface with at least one other person, either an adult or another child.
According to the New York State Department of Health, 90 infants die each year in New York state due to unsafe sleep practices and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.)
Learn More About Safe Sleep
Right from the start, help your baby sleep safely every time sleep begins. Safe sleep refers to preventing sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. There are many ways this can happen, including how the child sleeps and the environment they sleep in.
All babies under a year old are at risk of SIDS, and it is the leading cause of death for babies in that age group. SIDS is highly preventable, and it is up to you to lessen the risk of your baby from dying due to SIDS.
We want to reach out to parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and all caretakers of infants and teach safe sleep methods because even one death of a healthy infant from SIDS is too many.
Learn the ABC’s of Safe Sleep:
Baby Should Sleep Alone
- Put baby on their back to sleep – even if baby was born early (premature).
- Your baby should not sleep with adults or other children.
- Any potential benefits of cobedding twins and high-order multiples are outweighed by the risk of cobedding.
- Share your room, not your bed. Room-sharing lets you keep a close watch over your baby while preventing accidents that might happen when baby is sleeping in an adult bed.
- Nothing should be in the crib except baby; no pillows, bumper pads, blankets, or toys.
On Their Back
- Put baby to sleep on their back, not on their tummy or side.
- Do put your baby on their tummy every day when baby is awake and being watched. “Tummy time” helps baby develop strong shoulder and neck muscles.
In a Safe Crib Right From the Start
- Use a safety-approved* crib/bassinet/playard with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet.
- If baby falls asleep on a bed, couch, armchair, or in a sling, swing, or other carrier, put baby in a crib to finish sleeping.
- Sitting devices, such as strollers, swings, infant carriers, and infant slings are not recommended for routine sleep, particularly for infants younger than 4 months.
*For crib safety, please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission: https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-education-centers/cribs
Can’t Afford a Crib?
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is a partner agency of the national Cribs for Kids program. Cribs for Kids provides safe sleep education with the intervention of a portable crib to families who cannot otherwise afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. The program is open to infants and caregivers in Niagara County who meet eligibility criteria related to need and who agree to participate in safe sleep education and follow up.
Call the P3 Center for Teens, Moms and Kids at (716) 278-4423 to apply.
Other Tips for Safe Sleep
- Use a one-piece sleeper. Don’t use blankets.
- Be sure baby is not too warm. Don’t use head coverings while the baby is sleeping.
- Breastfeed your baby. Feeding of human milk is recommended for approximately 6 months.
- Try using a pacifier for sleep but don’t force baby to take it.
- Get your baby immunized.
- If your baby is in a front or back baby carrier, be sure that baby’s face is always visible.
- Never use a car seat, baby swing, carriage, or other carrier without properly fastening all the straps. Babies have gotten caught in partially-fastened straps and died.
- Make sure no one smokes in your home or around your baby.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs. Be mindful that drugs and alcohol may make you more sleepy or fall into a deeper sleep. Be careful not to fall asleep while holding or breastfeeding the baby.
- Don’t rely on home baby monitors.
- There is no evidence to recommend swaddling as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Make sure everyone caring for your baby follows these tips! Educate new mothers, caregivers, babysitters and grandparents about Safe Sleep.
Join our Safe Sleep Campaign and Become an Educator and Advocate
Invite a speaker to your organization, club, or faith center. Contact us at (716) 285-0045 to schedule your presentation or to request safe sleep education materials. Share safe sleep information with caregivers including grandparents and babysitters.
Use our NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP Toolkit for videos and printable materials.
For more information: