Newborn Baby Safety Tips

SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The risk of SIDS in the following groups exceeds that of the general population by as much as 5 to 10 times:

  • Infants born weighing less than 3.5 pounds.
  • Infants whose sibling died of SIDS.
  • Infants exposed to cocaine, heroin, or methadone during the pregnancy.
  • The second or succeeding child born to a teenage mother.
  • Infants who have had an apparent life-threatening event.

Steps parents can take to lower the risk of SIDS:

  • Place your baby on his or her back to sleep
  • Use a firm crib mattress with tight fitting sheets
  • Keep blankets, pillows and stuffed animals out of the crib
  • Don't smoke around your baby
  • Keep your baby warm, not hot
  • Keep your baby healthy
  • Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.
  • Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).

Keep Your Baby Safe at Night

Thousands of deaths occur each year while children sleep.

  • A baby should always sleep face up. Make sure that everyone who comes into contact with your infant - you, grandparents and other relatives, childcare providers, babysitters - knows to always place an infant on his or her back at night or naptime.
  • Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet. Do not use a crib with a mattress that allows you to fit two fingers between it and the sides of the crib.
  • Never put an infant on a waterbed, bean bag, or anything soft enough to cover the face.
  • Do not place a crib within reach of window blind or curtain cords.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke detectors on the first day of every month. Change the batteries twice a year.
  • Plan and practice a fire escape route with your family.

Newborn Health

  • Babies should be put on their backs for sleep at home and in other childcare settings.
  • Breastfeeding is healthy for both you and your baby. Breast milk protects your baby's health, is more convenient, saves money, and builds a special bond between you and your baby.
  • Keep your baby's environment smoke-free. If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and your baby's health.
  • Oral Health - Start thinking about your baby's teeth and gums early. Take your baby to a pediatric dentist.
  • Understand the basics about newborn care and safety. Be careful not to dress your baby too warmly and know the safe ways to bathe your baby and ensure proper hygiene.
  • Get regular check-ups for your baby. Call your baby's doctor if you have any concerns about your baby's health or development.
  • Give your baby a healthy diet. Proper nutrition is important for your baby's growth and development.
  • Choose a family planning method that works for you. After your baby is born, talk about family planning options with your partner and your doctor.

Additional Resources

Safety Tips