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As a parent, one of the things that often weighs heavy on us is trying to make sure our baby is getting the best sleep in the SAFEST place. The place where we sleep has the biggest impact on our overall quality of sleep, and we sleep the best in an environment that is free of distraction and promotes healthy sleep.

While baby’s room can occasionally be associated with play as they get older, it’s very important that your child’s sleep environment be actually used for sleep, so that your child will make that connection over time.

Safe Sleep Practices For Babies

The Nursery v. Mom & Dad’s Room

While some parents are hesitant to move their child to their own room, others are ready from day one. While the choice is ultimately yours to make, the AAP recommends room-sharing for a minimum of 6 months and up to 1 year. It’s important to know that while room-sharing is recommended, bed-sharing is NOT recommended in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which is also known as SIDS.

If you’re interested in additional information about SIDS, you can read more about it at

The Safest Place For Baby To Sleep

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet with only a fitted sheet covering the mattress, and nothing else in the crib/bassinet or any space/gaps where the mattress meets the frame of the crib.

While the crib and/or bassinet is the safest place for baby to sleep, we all know that there will be times where the crib or bassinet isn’t readily available. Maybe you’re out on the go, visiting a relative, or just away from home. So let’s talk a little bit more about that!

While it’s very difficult to prevent your baby, especially a newborn, from falling asleep in a car seat or stroller, there are studies that recommend that we avoid sleep in these spaces. This is primarily due to strangulation and positional asphyxia due to the position of the child. While it’s very important to follow these safety protocols, typically it is okay to allow a baby to continue sleeping in a car seat as long as their airways are open and there is a parent next to them who can observe their breathing, especially in the newborn stage. However, babies should NEVER be left to sleep in a car seat when they are out of the car regardless of their age.

Stroller naps can also seem inevitable, but it’s important not to rely on them. If you find that your baby has fallen asleep in a stroller, there are ways to make sure that the nap is occurring as safely as possible. As I’m sure you’re aware, every car seat and stroller manufacturer should have very clear guidelines listed on their product that outlines the correct position of the child and any risks associated with use.

For stroller naps, parents want to make sure they can see their child and make sure their airways are open, as well as be mindful of direct sunlight on the child. In an effort to avoid having direct sunlight on a crib, many parents will cover a stroller with a blanket. This is actually unsafe because heat can get trapped in the baby’s space and overheat them, so it’s important to make sure that baby is getting enough air.

I also do not recommend the use of swings and Rock ‘n Plays for sleep. These spaces were not designed for sleep and have been linked to many deaths worldwide causing many of these types of products to be recalled. While swings are okay for use when baby is awake, once baby falls asleep, they should be taken out of the swing. Same goes for the Rock ‘n Play.

When babies aren’t mobile the use of a DockATot and infant lounger can be great, but once baby falls asleep they should be moved to a safe sleep space like the crib or bassinet. DockATots and Rock ‘n Plays should not be moved to the inside of a crib or bassinet.

It is typically okay for a baby to sleep in a parents arms as long as safety protocols are being followed. This means that the parents or caregivers shouldn’t be on the verge of falling asleep, co-sleeping or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

The Crib

To make sure the crib stays safe, keep the following things in mind:

  • There shouldn’t be any bumpers on the crib
  • For babies under a year, no blankets are allowed inside
  • There shouldn’t be any gaps around the edges of the mattress
  • Make sure the crib mattress is at the appropriate height. It should be adjusted as baby grows. You always want the rail at mid-chest or higher when baby is in a standing position.

The Bassinet

If you’re using a bassinet for your child, always pay attention to the weight and height/length limits to make sure it’s still appropriate for use. If you find that your baby is still within the height/length and weight limit but is sitting, rolling or is able to climb, it’s time to move baby out of the bassinet. Transitioning from the bassinet when baby outgrows it is very important to keeping your baby safe.

Here Are Some Steps You Can Take To Ensure The Safety Of Your Baby In The Crib Or Bassinet:

  1. Always place your baby on her back for sleep.
  2. It’s okay for baby to sleep on their stomach IF baby is able to roll there independently.
  3. Do not smoke or allow smoke around your newborn. Even if your hands are washed, the particles of smoke can easily pass onto the baby.
  4. Use a pacifier if your child will take one.
  5. Breastfeed if possible.
  6. Don’t over-bundle your baby. If baby is sweating or feels clammy he’s likely too warm. It is still possible for baby to be too warm even if the room is set at the right temperature. The recommended temperature for baby’s room is between 68-72 degrees. We have a tendency sometimes to over-bundle our babies for fear of them being too cold, but all they really need is a short or long sleeved onesie and a swaddle or sleep sack and that’s it.

While these tips are here to help you keep your little one safe, it’s very important to follow the recommendations for safe sleep outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the sleep guidelines for the country/area where you live.