From the moment that a family finds out they are pregnant, much preparation is done in anticipation of the new addition. A room is painted soft colors and cute furniture is bought and assembled. Colorful pictures, murals, and window coverings are hung to give the space a fun feel. Bumper pads, blankets and bedding are placed in the crib to give a little extra “cushion” to snuggle into. A couple of stuffed bears and dolls are also added to appeal to the cute factor. Any infant would LOVE to sleep in such luxury.

On second thought….maybe not so much! How much thought is given to an infant’s sleep environment? Is it safe for a great night of slumber or naptime? How much is too much? While bumper pads, blankets and cute toys are visually stimulating, research has found that they aren’t the best choice when arranging an area for safe sleep.

To ensure consistent care of infants, it is important for parents and child care providers to become partners in quality. Best safe sleep practices should benefit families in the child care setting and at home. What do families and early childhood professionals need to know about providing a nap and bedtime setting that isn’t harmful to an infant?

Follow the ABC guide below to ensure all infants are sleeping safely:

A is for….

  • Always place the infant on his or her back every time to sleep, including naptime.
  • Avoid covering the infant’s head with blankets and clothing.
  • Adjust the room temperature to be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Awake infants enjoy supervised “tummy-time” to help strengthen and develop muscles.
  • Anticipate that it will take time for the infant to adjust.

B is for…

  • Breastfeeding is recommended for optimal health.
  • Bedding, Blankets and Bumper pads are removed from crib to avoid suffocation.
  • “Binkies” or pacifiers can be used to comfort, but are not to be attached to clothing to avoid strangulation.
  • Blanket sleepers and footed pajamas can be used for added warmth.
  • Build a trusting relationship with the child through playful interaction and providing a safe space to sleep.

C is for…

  • Cribs that are designed with stronger wood slats and mattress supports are advised.
  • Co-sleeping in the parent’s bed is not recommended, but a crib or bassinet can be added to the same room.
  • Comfort baby as needed, but return to crib when asleep.
  • Car seats and other “containers” are not made for proper sleeping as they contribute to poor oxygen intake.
  • Commit to offering the safest possible sleeping environment for infants.

Infants thrive in a setting that is safe. Eliminate the risks in their environment by removing items from cribs and following the tips outlined above. For more information on safe sleep practices and selection of cribs, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at Child Care Resource and Referral also offers Safe Sleep classes throughout the year. Contact your local child care consultant for more information. Working together, parents and child care providers can ensure consistent and safe care of infants.


Tags: Child Safety , Infants , Sleep , Playtime , Resources

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