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How Safe Sleep Has Changed: What You Need To Know

If you’re a parent or grandparent, you may think you’re already familiar with an infant’s safe sleep environment. But recommendations have changed in recent years, so now may be a good time for a refresher:

  • Use a firm sleep surface in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Do not use pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, or any other soft, loose objects in baby’s sleep area.
  • If a light blanket is needed, it should be tucked in to sides of crib and rest no higher than baby’s chest.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends against the use of sleep positioners of any kind.

The ABC’s of Infant Safe Sleep


A: All by myself

I should sleep alone because sleeping with anyone else is not safe.

B: Back to sleep

I should sleep on my back because on my side or stomach is not safe.

C: In my crib

I should sleep on a firm mattress with no pillows, loose blankets or stuffed animals because they are not safe.

‘S: Safe transfer

Keep me safe by always helping my mother put me back in the crib.

Did You Know?

#1 – Healthier women means healthier babies.

  • Be sure to receive regular healthcare checkups. during pregnancy, and avoid smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs.

#2 – Breastfeeding may lower the risk for SIDS.

  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

#3 – Vaccinating your child can protect them.

  • Infant vaccines protect against serious diseases; these diseases increase the risk of SIDS.

While the infant mortality rate in North Carolina has declined in recent years, we still have a long way to go. We are committed to providing the most effective patient & family education possible to help reach that goal.

How You Can Learn More

In addition to having safe practices modeled in the hospital, safe sleep materials are distributed in the WakeMed birthing and parent education classes, as well as during tours of our birthing areas. Educational information is also available in patient rooms as appropriate and will be provided to all families who are discharged with an infant less than one year of age.

About Karen Chilton, MD

Dr. Karen Chilton is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director of WakeMed Physician Practices – Pediatrics, pediatric critical care and hospital medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.

In 2014, she was the recipient of the WakeMed Clinical Excellence award, an honor she was nominated for by the nursing staff of the pediatric intensive care unit and Children’s Hospital. Dr. Chilton’s interests include patient safety, process improvement and change management.  She is a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics with the UNC School of Medicine and is a consulting associate with Duke University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.