Protect Every Baby in Your Care
If you’re caring for a baby, chances are they will need to sleep. Whether you’re a grandparent, a childcare worker, or a babysitter, you should know what to do in order to get baby to sleep safely
Steps to Safe Sleep!
These steps aren’t always as simple as they sound. Talk to a doctor or nurse for help. Not sure about a step? Find out why each one matters.
Share these important safety tips with EVERYONE you know who cares for and about babies! Download and print the checklist here.
Try to check off as many items as possible.
When you lay your grandbaby down for a nap or bedtime, it’s important that they sleep safely. There may be some new information you may not have heard about, so keep reading to learn how to get your grandbaby to sleep safely.
- New Recommendations
- We’ve learned a lot of new things about how to care for and keep babies safe, especially when it comes to how they sleep. We now know that a baby is safest sleeping on his or her back, with nothing in the crib or Pack ‘n Play. Placing your grandbaby on his or her back for every sleep time is the best way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Since doctors and experts started stressing back-sleeping for babies in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has been cut in half. Do what you can to reduce your grandbaby’s risk of SIDS!
- Bedtime and Safe Sleep Routines
To keep your grandbaby safe, it’s important to follow a routine to get them safely to sleep. Remember, every sleep time counts! Find out what your grandbaby’s routine is and stick to it while keeping these steps in mind:
- Babies should always sleep on their backs, not their tummies or sides EVERY time they sleep: naptime and bedtime. Do not worry about the baby spitting up or choking. Babies will not choke from back sleeping as they have reflexes to keep their airways clear.
- Remember that a fitted sheet in a safety-approved crib is the only thing you need. No loose bedding, no bumpers, no quilts, or pillows should be in the crib.
- Babies should sleep in smoke-free homes, both where they live and where they visit. If you can, make it a rule that your home is smoke-free.
- A onesie is typically all a baby needs to feel warm. Being hot is not comfortable for babies and can be dangerous. If it's cold, just dress them in an infant sleep sack.
- Talk to Parents About Safe Sleep
Find out what your grandbaby’s parents are doing to keep your grandbaby sleeping safely. Help family, babysitters, and daycare workers set up a safe sleep area for your grandbaby and reduce his or her risk of SIDS and sleep-related death.
Babysitting is a very important job, especially with an infant. Babies can’t tell us what they want or need, we have to know. All babysitters should talk about the following safety practices with the baby’s parents or guardians.
- Talk to Parents About Safe Sleep Routines
Check with parents about their safe sleep routines for their baby. Remember that when putting down a baby for naptime OR bedtime, they should always sleep on their backs, not their tummies or sides. Print out a copy and refer to this SAFE SLEEP CHECKLIST so you are prepared to take care of the baby.
- What to do if You Notice Something Unsafe
Know How to Call for Help. Have the phone number for baby’s parents or guardians written down and in your phone contacts. No matter what, if something happens that you think is an emergency, call 9-1-1, then call the baby’s parent or guardian.
- Follow Recommendations for Bedtime AND Naptime:
- Babies should always sleep ALONE, not with another child, baby or you. Make sure you do not sleep or nap on the couch or in an adult bed with a baby.
- Babies should always sleep on their BACKS, not their tummies or sides.
- Babies should always sleep in a clean, empty crib or Pack ‘n Play, with no pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals, and NOT on sofas or other soft surfaces.
- No Smoking. Even a little bit of smoke is harmful to baby, make it a rule that while this baby is in your care, your home is smoke-free.
For Child Care Providers
Every out-of-home child care provider and family home day care provider should have a written Safe Sleep Policy document. It is recommended that this policy incorporate the safe sleep guidelines:
- IMPORTANT ACTIONS FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS:
- Create a Written Safe Sleep Policy. If you are not sure of how to create a safe sleep policy, contact a Child Care Health Consultant for help creating a policy that fits your child care center or home.
- Make sure all cribs are in good repair, and meet the accredited safety standards of the Juvenile Product Manufacturing Association.
- 1 baby at a time per crib.
- Do not use wedges or infant positioners, since there’s no evidence that they reduce the risk of SUID.
- Have supervised “tummy time” for babies who are awake. This will help babies strengthen their muscles and develop normally.
- Make sure you teach ALL staff, substitutes, and volunteers about safe sleep policies and practices. Be sure to review them with your team OFTEN. If a baby is under doctor’s orders to sleep on their side or stomach, notify ALL staff and place a sign on the crib.
- When a new baby is coming into the program, talk to the parents about your safe sleep policy and how their baby sleeps. If the baby sleeps in a way other than on her back, the child’s parents or guardians need a note from the child’s physician that explains how she should sleep, the medical reason for this position and a time frame for this position. This note should be kept on file and all staff, including substitutes and volunteers, should be informed of this special situation. It is required by the Department of Education to put a sign on the baby’s crib.