From the Florida Department of Children and Families

It’s Safe Sleep Awareness Month, and the Florida Department of Children and Families and Prevent Child Abuse Florida are reminding everyone about the importance of placing babies in a safe sleep environment while they are in your care.

Babies sleep safest when they are alone, on their backs, in a crib in the parents’ room for the first year of life.

Did you know?

  • Suffocation and strangulation in an adult bed is the leading cause of injury-related death for Florida infants under age 1.
  • Infant deaths due to unsafe sleep environments are completely preventable.

You can help keep your baby safe during sleep using the following the ABC’s of Safe Sleep:

Back to Sleep, ABCs of Safe Sleep
The Letter A is putting the baby to sleep Alon


Ensure babies are alone in their sleep area.

Keep soft bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.This means no pillows, blankets, bumpers, toys, or other soft objects are around.

Also be sure to check for strings, cords or other potential strangulation hazards around the sleeping area.

Offer your baby (over 1 month old) a pacifier (never a bottle) when placing your baby down to sleep. The pacifier should not be put  back into the baby’s mouth if it is spit out during sleep. If the baby does not want the pacifier, do not force it and never do anything to hold it in place. If breastfeeding, do not use a pacifier until the baby is one month old.

Sharing a room with your baby is much safer than bed sharing and may decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Do not smoke in the room where the baby sleeps.


The letter B is for putting your baby to slip on thier back


Placing infants on their backs to sleep has been proven to reduce SIDS. Babies should always be placed on their backs when you put them down for a nap.

Babies’ anatomy and gag reflex will prevent them from choking while sleeping on their backs. Babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs are at an increased risk of SIDS.

Offer a pacifier. Pacifier use has been linked to a decreased risk of SIDS. For breastfed infants, delay pacifier introduction until 1 month of age to ensure breastfeeding is firmly established.

Always hold the bottle when feeding your baby, since propping a bottle can cause the baby to choke and possibly die.

Respond to your baby’s cries during the night.

Avoid exposing your baby to smoke, alcohol, or drugs.

The letter C is for Putting your baby to sleep in a crib


Always place infants to sleep in a crib, portable crib, bassinet, or other safety-approved sleep surface. The mattress should be firm, and the sheet should fit snugly.

Put baby’s crib, cradle, or bassinet close to parent or caregiver’s bed for the first year of life. 

Keep the room temperature of your baby’s sleeping area comfortable for a lightly clothed adult to keep baby from getting overheated.

Hang baby’s mobile out of baby’s reach and remove it once baby learns to sit up.

Lower the baby’s mattress when your baby learns to sit, and again when they learn to stand to prevent baby from falling out of the crib.

Studies have shown that the risk for infant death by suffocation is up to 40 times greater when placed in an adult bed than in a crib. Even if the bed is empty, an adult mattress poses a risk for babies.

It is NOT safe to put anything in baby’s bed, such as sheepskins, stued animals, baby positioners, crib wedges, comforters, pillows, heavy blankets,
or bumper pads.

It is NOT safe to let your baby sleep on an adult bed, air mattress, beanbag, reclining chair, sofa, waterbed, or any other soft surface