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Learn the ABCs of safe sleep to keep infants safe.

Before it’s time to teach a child his ABCs, parents and caregivers need to know the crucially

important ABCs of safe sleep. Unsafe sleep practices, including co-sleeping, continue to be a

leading cause of preventable infant deaths in our community. In fact, 21 Tampa Bay infants died

from unsafe sleep practices in 2019. In the last six years 166 infants have died for unsafe sleep

in our community.

Babies should always be put to sleep Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib. The ABCs of safe

sleep minimize the risk of the infant suffocating, especially if they have not yet developed neck

muscle control.

Additional ways to keep your child safe:

 Never co-sleep. Co-sleeping, which means having babies sleep in the same bed as

parents, siblings or caregivers, is often the cause of sleep-related infant death. When co-

sleeping, a baby may suffocate if an adult unintentionally rolls on top of them or if the

baby is up against a pillow or blanket. More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else,

and infants are 40 times more likely to die in an adult bed than in their own crib.

 Bring the crib into the parent or caregiver’s room. Sharing a room with a child offers

almost all of the same benefits of sharing a bed, but without the risks. It’s recommended

to bring the baby’s crib, or a smaller bassinet, into the parents’ room for the first year of

the baby’s life.

 Follow crib setup recommendations. A crib’s mattress should be firm and fit snugly

inside the crib’s frame. Crib sheets should fit tightly around the mattress. A baby’s

sleeping area should be free of blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, sleep

positioners and toys.

 Be prepared for naptime and bedtime away from home. Make plans for proper sleeping

arrangements like a crib or pack-n-play with a fitted sheet if your child sleeps at

someone else’s home, such as with grandparents or other caregivers. Never use a blow-

up mattress, recliner, couch or adult bed, which pose a significant danger to infants.

 Learn from the past. As more information becomes available, parents and caregivers

must let go of some outdated practices in order to provide children with the safest

environment possible for sleeping. Habits about car seats and lead paint have changed;

it’s now time to change co-sleeping habits.

It’s important that caregivers, babysitters, relatives or anyone else caring for a baby know the

ABCs of safe sleep, too.

Even one preventable child death is too many. For more information on sleep safety and ways

to prevent needless child deaths, visit



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