Courtesy of Gerard Place Healthy Mom & Baby Program

About 350,000 babies die each year in the U.S. due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While all babies under one year of age are at risk, SIDS is highly preventable. As a result, Gerard Place offers education and important tips for parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and all infant caretakers regarding safe sleep methods to reduce the risk of SIDS, and prevent the death of an otherwise healthy baby.

Babies should sleep alone.

It is beneficial to share your room with your newborn to keep a close watch over your baby in preventing accidents, but your baby should not sleep with you in the same bed. Also, nothing should be in the crib, except for the baby. This means no pillows, bumper pads, blankets, or toys.

Place babies on their back.

Place babies on their back to sleep, not on their tummy or side, for all sleep times, including short naps. Research shows that the back sleep position helps reduce the risk of SIDS. However, when your baby is awake, and you are watching your baby, it is helpful to place the baby on his or her tummy. “Tummy time” helps babies develop strong shoulder and neck muscles.

Place babies in a safe crib right from the start.

Always use a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or play-yard with a firm mattress and fitted sheet. If your baby falls asleep on a bed, couch, armchair, or in a sling, swing or other carrier, put your baby in a crib to finish sleeping. For more about crib safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at

Other tips for safe sleep.

Use a one-piece sleeper, and don’t use blankets. Also be sure that your baby is not too warm. Breastfeed your baby, and try using a pacifier for sleep, but don’t force the baby to take it. Make sure to get your baby immunized.

If your baby is in a front or back baby carrier, be sure that his or her face is always visible. Never use a car seat, baby swing, carriage, or other carrier without properly fastening all the straps, as babies have been caught in partially fastened straps and died as a result. Finally, make sure that no one smokes in your home or around your baby, don’t use drugs or alcohol, and don’t rely on home baby monitors. For more information visit

Gerard Place has provided safe sleep education for new and expecting parents, as well as safe sleep supplies, such as pack and plays and sleep sacks to over 1,000 families. Other items available through the Gerard Place Healthy Mom & Baby Program include baby care supplies, clothes, food, bus passes for doctor appointments, and more. Join their Mom & Baby Coffee Hour Support Group on Wednesdays from 10 to 11:30 am, where moms are welcome to bring their children and babies. Contact Kaitlin Price at 716-897-9948 at extension 114, or email Learn more at