Infant Sleep

Preventing Infant Sleep-related Deaths

Infant sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of death for Utah infants ages one month to one year. The majority of these deaths happened in an unsafe sleep environment.

Placing infants on their backs to sleep and providing them with a safe sleep environment reduces the risk of SIDS as well as deaths from other sleep-related causes, such as suffocation.

Keeping Your Baby Safe While Sleeping

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Babies should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. The safest place for your baby is in your room but in a separate sleeping area, such as a crib. This will also help with breastfeeding, which has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use a firm sleep surface. Mattresses should be a safety-approved crib, covered with only a fitted crib sheet.
  • Do not use pillows, blankets, or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby’s sleep area.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, and do not use a blanket. This will help your baby avoid overheating.
  • Consider giving your baby a pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not use commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS, such as wedges, positioners, special mattresses, etc.
  • Give your baby plenty of Tummy Time when he or she is awake and she someone is watching. Tummy Time helps build strength and to avoid flat heads.
  • If you are pregnant, get regular prenatal care.
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use during pregnancy and after your baby is born.
  • Breastfeed your baby.

Safe Sleep Environment

Magazines often show infants sleeping on their stomachs or sides, sleeping on a soft surface, or surrounded by soft or loose bedding. All are considered unsafe sleeping areas. The Safe to Sleep campaign provides parents and caregivers with easy to understand materials and pictures of what a safe sleep areat looks like. The picture below is an example of what a safe sleep area looks like.

Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco is hard, but there are few better motivating factors than the exciting news of pregnancy. And even if you've tried before, don't give up on yourself: give it a fresh start with way to quit!  way to quit is Utah's newest resource that provides all of the info and resources you need to quit tobacco - not just for the next nine months, but for the rest of your life. Get information on our free telephone counseling, free online counseling, and how to get free nicotine replacement therapy. Pregnant women get the royal treatment they deserve: extra coaching sessions and a dedicated counselor to help you kick the habit, once and for all.


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics
  2. National Institutes of Health