Don’t assume that others know about safe sleep. Discuss with them where and how your baby sleeps. Remember to talk to all who might care for your baby including, spouse/partner, babysitter, childcare provider, sibling, grandparents, friends, faith-based nursery, and family members. You have the right to be thorough in questioning those who will be caring for your infant and don’t feel bad about turning them down or providing instruction.
A study found that while parents and licensed childcare providers are catching on about safe infant sleep practices, friends, relatives, and babysitters often do not know how to help prevent sleep-related infant deaths.
- Always put baby to sleep on his or her back.
- Always put baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm and flat mattress.
- Remove all blankets and pillows from the crib.
- Remove any other objects that could be hazardous, including stuffed animals, toys, and bumpers.
- Do not sleep on the same surface (bed, couch, etc.) with baby.
- Do not smoke or vape around baby.
When it’s time to choose a childcare provider, remember to discuss safe sleep. You might want to prepare a list of questions to ask them to be sure that they follow safe sleep practices.
- You can start by asking them what sleeping arrangements they already use for infants in their care.
- Ask to see what they already have for sleeping arrangements or if you should provide your own.
- Ask them what they would do if your baby were to fall asleep in the car seat, in a swing, or in a bouncy seat.
- Ask them how they put babies to sleep (babies should only be placed on their backs–not their side or stomach).
- Ask about tummy time, and ask to see where tummy time takes place.
- Ask if they or anyone who comes to the childcare location smokes/vapes, or if your baby will ever be around anyone who smokes/vapes while in their care.
- Ask if they use blankets, stuffed animals, or bumper pads in the crib.
- Always lay your baby on their back, not their stomach or side.
- The surface should be firm. Make sure that the crib, bassinet, pack n play, etc. meets all safety standards and has not been recalled. Ensure that when assembled, there are no missing pieces, broken pieces, or loose pieces.
- If the baby falls asleep in the car seat, swing, infant carrier, etc. he/she should be moved to a proper sleeping place.
- Keep loose bedding, like pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. out of the sleeping area, leaving baby only on a fitted sheet with nothing else.
- Do not use bumper pads, as they do not prevent injury, but can increase the risk for suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment.
- Items such as mattress wedges or special positioners should not be used and can be a hazard.
- Do not place baby to sleep on an adult bed, couch, or recliner.
- Stay away from smoke or vape. Do not expose your baby to second-hand smoke/vape. Make this clear to your childcare provider, and ask that they stay away from others who smoke/vape while your baby is in their care.
- Make sure the baby’s sleep environment is not too warm, and that there is nothing that could cover the infant’s head.
- Allow for plenty of supervised tummy time. This will help strengthen the neck and back muscles, allowing for better control.
In North Carolina, licensed child care facilities are required to follow strict safe infant sleep practices. Click HERE to read more about these policies.
The North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center offers a toll free number ( 1-800-367-2229 ) as well as an online form that parents and anyone working in the child health and child care communities can use for more information.