Sleep Safety: How to Create a Safe Sleep Space for Your Baby

Parents and caregivers can take these simple steps to create a safe sleep space for baby and reduce the risk of SUID or SIDS.

Guest Post By: Emily Wengrovius, Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System coordinator, Colorado Department of Human Services

When that little pink plus sign appeared, I didn’t waste any time starting to plan the baby’s nursery. I had Pinterest boards galore with all kinds of cute ideas to create the perfect space for our first baby. There was so much to do before our little one came home from the hospital!

Thankfully while planning out our nursery, I consulted with my colleagues at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) for the latest on infant safe sleep practices. I had heard about Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and I wanted to be sure I was doing everything I could to protect my baby.

Despite all the cute crib bed-in-a-bag bundles and adorable decorative items marketed to new moms at every turn, there are some important things we should all know about creating a safe sleep space for our babies. Spoiler alert! It does not include crib bumpers or blankets.

Six Tips to Create a Safe Sleep Space for Your Baby

One of the main causes of SUID is accidental suffocation while a baby is sleeping in an unsafe environment. October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month – a great reason to review these important tips and confirm that you have created a safe sleep environment for your baby: 

  1. Include only a firm crib mattress, a fitted crib sheet and your baby in the sleep space.
  2. Use a sleep sack to keep your baby warm, loose blankets make a sleep environment unsafe.
  3. Do not use crib bumpers, stuffed animals, clip-on pacifiers or mobiles.
  4. Maintain a room temperature that would be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  5. Share your room with your baby in his or her own bassinet or crib, not your bed.
  6. Avoid exposure to second- and third-hand smoke in your home and around your baby.

Now that you have the perfect safe sleep environment set up, be sure to always put your baby “back to sleep,” which means your baby should be placed on his or her back for every nap and every nighttime sleep. You should also talk to your child care provider or caregiver and ensure they have also created a safe sleep environment for your baby while he or she is away from you. Visit the Colorado Shines website for more tips on how to practice safe sleep at home and away.

Safe Sleep Photo Contest

During Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, we are promoting the practice of creating safe sleep spaces with a social media photo contest. Snap a photo of your baby’s safe sleep environment and enter the Safe Sleep Awareness Month Photo Contest for your chance to win the honor of selecting a nonprofit organization to receive up to $1,000 in grant funds to support families and prevent child maltreatment.