The safest way for your baby to sleep is by following the steps on the safe sleep checklist. If you can’t follow all the steps, read this page to learn what you can do to lower your baby’s risk of sleep-related death.

Where Will my Baby Sleep?

Deciding where your baby sleeps is a personal decision. It reflects your family’s beliefs, values, and ideas about raising children. Babies are safer when they sleep in the same room as their parents or caregivers – plus, if your baby is hungry or needs you, she does not have to cry loudly to let you know.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep on their backs (not their sides or stomach) until they can roll over on their own. They also recommend babies sleep alone in a crib, bassinette or Pack N’ Play without pillows and toys, and close to their parents and caregivers.


What if I Bed-share with my Baby?

Even though there are some risks, some caregivers decide to sleep in the same bed (bed-share) with their baby. If you choose to bed-share, follow the steps below to keep your baby as safe as possible.

        • Keep the room cool
        • Avoid all alcohol, drugs or medications that affect your mind or sleep patterns (alcohol, drugs or certain medications may make you sleep more heavily)
        • Do not allow pets in the bed
        • Sleep in the C-position (Cuddle Curl): Caregiver bends their knees and tucks arm under their head/pillow, forming the letter “C” around the baby

 Sleep Surface:

        • Your mattress should be firm and flat
        • Keep pillows, blankets or anything on the bed that could accidentally cover your baby’s face away from your baby – these items can cause suffocation. For nights when your baby sleeps with you, try to keep your bed as bare as possible.

How to place baby into bed:

        • Baby sleeps on his/her back
        • Dress baby in a onesie or wearable blanket to maintain baby’s temperature. Be sure baby does not overheat.
        • Be sure your baby can’t slip and fall between a mattress and headboard OR between a mattress and the wall OR between your bed and other furniture 

Did you know?

Firm vs. soft sleep surfaces:

  • A firm surface maintains its shape and will not mold to the shape of a baby’s head and body.
  • A soft surface may mold to the shape of a baby’s head and body. This can lead to suffocation if baby is placed on or rolls onto his/her stomach or side. Soft surfaces can also increase the chance that a baby will breathe in his/her own exhaled breath (carbon dioxide). Soft surfaces include: couches, pillows, blankets and soft mattresses, including memory foam and pillow top.

C-position aka “Cuddle Curl”:

Caregiver bends their knees and tucks arm under their head/pillow, forming the letter “C” around the baby

Smoking in the Home

There are steps EVERYONE can take to lower a baby’s exposure to tobacco/cigarette smoke. If you smoke:

      1. Do not smoke in the house
      2. Change out of smoky clothes before you hold the baby
      3. Wash your hands after smoking and before holding the baby

If you can’t prevent smoking in the home:

      1. Open the windows after you or someone has smoked
      2. Use a fan to clear the smoke
      3. Use an air purifier
      4. Do not smoke where the baby naps/sleeps
      5. Do not smoke in the same room as baby
      6. Try to cut back smoking or try to quit. Call Quit With Us, Louisiana! at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for help for yourself or a loved one. Available 24/7, services are free and confidential.

What if your neighbors smoke? The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation shares steps you can take if there is tobacco smoke coming from neighboring units in apartments or condos.

Are you a landlord? Well-Ahead Louisiana has resources you can use to make your property smoke free.

Did you know?

  • Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die from sleep-related causes, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Sleeping in the same room as a baby lowers the chance of sleep-related death. Caregivers who smoke should still have the baby sleep in the room with them.
  • Babies whose mothers who smoked during pregnancy or babies who were exposed to secondhand smoke after birth have weaker lungs. Exposure to smoke raises a baby’s risk for health problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and more severe asthma.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in children.

Quit With Us, Louisiana!



Available 24/7, free & confidential