Safe sleep for your baby

Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths

Baby blue and pink SIDS awareness logo

Safe sleep for your baby brochures in multiple languages

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Mother looking over baby in crib next to bed.

This is what a safe sleep environment for baby looks like.

  • The sleep surface is flat (like a table) and level (not angled or inclined), covered only by a fitted sheet.
  • The sleep area is clear—no objects, toys, or other items.
  • The sleep space is in the same room where parents sleep, but separate from their bed.
Baby on back in crib parent watching

Place babies on their backs to sleep for naps and at night.

  • Place all babies—including those born preterm and those with reflux—on their backs to sleep until they are 1 year old.
  • It is not safe to place babies on their sides or stomachs to sleep, not even for a nap. The safest sleep position is on the back.
Baby in wearable blanket

Use a wearable blanket to keep baby warm

  • Keep baby warm without blankets in the sleep area
  • Make sure baby’s head and face stay uncovered during sleep
Baby on tummy with mom holding for support

Give babies plenty of “tummy time” when they are awake

  • Supervised tummy time, when baby is awake, helps strengthen your baby’s neck, shoulder, and arm muscles.
  • Tummy time also helps prevent flat spots on the back of your baby’s head.
No couch

Couches and armchairs are never safe places for babies to sleep.

  • These surfaces are extremely dangerous when an adult falls asleep while feeding, comforting, or snuggling with baby.
  • Do not let babies sleep on these surfaces alone, with you, with someone else, or with pets.
No smoking icon

Keep baby’s surroundings smoke and vape-free

  • Second-hand smoke in the home, car, or other spaces where baby spends time increases the risk of SIDS and other health problems.
  • Stay smoke/vape-free during pregnancy. It greatly increases baby’s risk of SIDS.
Purple breastfeeding icon

Feed your baby human milk, like by breastfeeding.

  • Feeding only human milk, with no formula or other things added, for the first 6 months provides the greatest protection from SIDS.
  • Feeding human milk also has other benefits for babies, such as reduced risks of diarrhea, asthma, and ear infections
Blue and purple pacifier icon

Offer baby a pacifier for naps and at night once they are feeding well.

  • To reduce the risk of strangulation, choking, and suffocation, do not attach the pacifier to clothing, stuffed animals, blankets, or other items.
  • If the pacifier falls out of baby’s mouth during sleep, you don’t need to put it back in.

Every day, families around the world welcome a new baby into their lives. They face joys and challenges in helping baby stay safe and healthy. Still, thousands of babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States each year—often while they are sleeping.
Different groups use different terms to describe the death of a baby during sleep, such as:

  • Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)—This broad term describes all sudden, unexpected infant deaths, including those from a known cause, like an injury, and those from unknown causes.

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)—SIDS is a sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a full investigation.

  • Other sleep-related deaths—This term describes deaths from something in or related to the baby’s sleep environment, how or where the baby sleeps, or things that happen during sleep.

Other sleep-related deaths occur when baby can’t breathe, such as from:

  •  Entrapment or wedging: Baby’s body or head gets stuck between two objects, like a mattress and wall, bed frame, or furniture

  •  Suffocation: Something, such as a pillow or adult’s arm, covers baby’s face or nose

  •  Strangulation: Something presses on or wraps around baby’s neck

No matter what it is called, the death of a baby during sleep is a tragedy. The actions described here can help parents and caregivers reduce baby’s risk of SUID, SIDS, and other sleep-related deaths.


Safe sleep for your baby resource materials

Safe sleep for your baby resource materials

The Safe to Sleep® campaign offers a variety of free materials, including booklets, handouts and infographics, to help people learn about safe infant sleep and share safe sleep information with friends, family, and others.

Images and Content

Images and Content

Images and content courtesy of the Safe to Sleep® campaign, for educational purposes only; Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD,; Safe to Sleep® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


California Health and Safety Code

California Health and Safety Code

The California Health & Safety Code requires the coroner to notify the County Health Officer or designee of any case in which Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the provisional cause of death. In San Francisco, the designee is the Maternal, Child, and  Adolescent Health Program. The medical examiner makes a referral which is forwarded to a Public Health Nurse who contacts the family & offers necessary services. A copy of the intervention is then forwarded to the SIDS Program Coordinator. 

FIMR/SIDS Coordinator for San Francisco

FIMR/SIDS Coordinator for San Francisco

Erma Riley RN, PHN, MSN, CPNP

333 Valencia Street  2nd floor

San Francisco, California 94102

Phone: (415) 806-7561

Grief & Infant Loss

The death of a baby is tragic for parents, caregivers, and loved ones, as well as friends and members of the community. We have resources to help during this challenging time.


Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths