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Safe Sleep for Babies


Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety

Why safe sleep matters

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are around 3,500 sleep related deaths among babies in the United States each year. Safe sleep practices are designed to reduce the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and other deaths related to unsafe sleep practices. Thanks to safe sleep practices, sleep related deaths like SIDS are on the decline, however, it is important that all health providers and parents know how to create a safe sleep environment:

  • Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet; a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended.
  • Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep your baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep (for the infants first year). Room sharing not bed sharing. Always place the baby in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, portable crib for sleep.
  • Sitting devices like bouncy seats, swings, infant carriers or strollers should not be used for routine sleep.
  • Keep soft objects such as pillows and blankets, toys and bumpers out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS after breastfeeding is established.
  • Supervised Skin to Skin is recommended to all mothers and infants immediately following birth regardless of feeding or delivery, (as soon as mother is medically stable, awake and able to respond to her newborn) and to continue for at least an hour. Once mother starts to get sleepy, return baby to bassinet.
  • Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.

Learn more about baby care basics.

Cribs for Kids safe sleep certification

Founded in 1998 by Judith A. Bannon, Cribs for Kids is a national infant safe-sleep education program that helps to reduce the risk of injury and death of infants due to accidental suffocation, asphyxia, or undetermined causes in unsafe sleeping environments. Visit for more information.

Cribs for Kids also certifies hospitals that have made a commitment to safe sleep practices and educating the public about safe sleep. Visit Cribs for Kids Hospital Certification for more information.

Cribs for Kids certified Ballad Health hospitals

photo: Bristol Regional Medical Center facility exterior at twilight

Bristol Regional Medical Center: Gold Certification – The first area hospital with stereotactic radiosurgery and a digital cardiac cath lab, Bristol Regional provides superior, innovative care with compassion.

photo: Franklin Woods facility exterior at twilight

Franklin Woods Community Hospital: Gold Certification – Franklin Woods is an 80-bed not-for-profit hospital providing healthcare for Johnson City and the surrounding Northeast Tennessee area.

photo: Holston Valley facility exterior at twilight

Holston Valley Medical Center: Bronze Certification – Holston Valley has partnered with and served Kingsport and the surrounding region for more than 80 years.

photo: Indian Path facility exterior

Indian Path Community Hospital: Bronze Certification – Indian Path, also in Kingsport, is a 261-bed hospital known for minimally invasive elective surgical procedures and single-room maternity care.

photo: Johnson City Med Center facility exterior

Johnson City Medical Center: Gold Certification – A 445-bed hospital and one of Tennessee’s six Level 1 trauma centers, Johnson City Medical Center has been named a Top 100 Heart Hospital.

photo: Greeneville East campus facility exterior

Greeneville Community Hospital East: Gold Certification – Greeneville’s east campus is a 177-bed hospital is committeed in providing the highest quality medical services and diagnostic medical equipment for our patients.

photo: Lonesome Pine facility exterior

Lonesome Pine Hospital: Gold Certification – Lonesome Pine provides extensive medical services in Big Stone Gap, VA, including emergency, obstetric, surgical, cancer and outpatient care.