The Safe Sleep Seven

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What Are The Safe Sleep Seven Rules for Safe Infant Sleeping?

As a mother and passionate advocate for achieving great sleep at every stage, I want to address an important topic that concerns all parents and caregivers: safe infant sleeping. Providing a secure and comfortable sleep environment for babies is crucial for their well-being and development. In this article, I will outline the seven rules for safe infant sleeping and explain why each rule is essential. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your baby sleeps soundly while minimizing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related incidents.


When it comes to infant sleeping, safety should be the utmost priority. The way we put our babies to sleep can have a significant impact on their health and overall safety. Unfortunately, unsafe sleep practices can increase the risk of accidents or SIDS. Therefore, understanding and implementing the safe sleep seven rules are crucial for all parents and caregivers.

The Importance of Safe Infant Sleeping

Safe infant sleeping is not just about providing a peaceful night’s sleep for your little one; it’s about creating an environment that promotes healthy development and reduces the risk of SIDS. By following the seven rules, you can ensure that your baby sleeps in a safe and secure manner.

The Safe Sleep Seven

Rule 1: Back to Sleep

One of the fundamental rules for safe infant sleeping is placing babies on their backs to sleep. This sleep position significantly reduces the risk of SIDS. The back-to-sleep position allows for clear airways and prevents the baby from rebreathing their exhaled breath, which can lead to suffocation.

To ensure safe sleep positioning, always place your baby on their back in the crib or bassinet. Avoid using positioners, pillows, or other devices that may elevate the baby’s head. Additionally, make sure to rotate the baby’s head from side to side during sleep to prevent flattening of the skull.

Rule 2: Firm Sleep Surface

A firm sleep surface is crucial for safe infant sleeping. It provides a stable and supportive foundation for your baby’s sleep. Always use a firm mattress or crib surface that maintains its shape when pressure is applied.

Avoid using soft bedding materials such as waterbeds, couches, or pillows as sleep surfaces. These can pose suffocation hazards or increase the risk of the baby rolling into an unsafe position during sleep. Remember, a flat and firm sleep surface is the safest choice for your little one.

Rule 3: No Loose Bedding or Objects

Creating a clutter-free sleep environment is essential for the safety of your baby. Loose bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, and other objects can increase the risk of suffocation or accidental entrapment.

Ensure that the crib or bassinet is free from any loose bedding, including blankets, comforters, or bumper pads. Instead, use a fitted sheet specifically designed for the crib mattress. If your baby needs additional warmth, consider using a sleep sack or wearable blanket that is the appropriate size for your baby’s age.

Rule 4: Room-Sharing, Not Bed-Sharing

While it may be tempting to bring your baby into bed with you, bed-sharing is associated with an increased risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing as the safest sleep arrangement for infants.

Set up a separate sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet, within arm’s reach of your bed. This allows you to attend to your baby’s needs promptly while ensuring a safe sleep environment. Remember, your baby should always sleep on their own sleep surface.

Rule 5: Avoid Overheating

Maintaining a comfortable sleep temperature is crucial for safe infant sleeping. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS and disturb your baby’s sleep. To prevent overheating, keep the room at a moderate temperature, between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius).

Choose appropriate clothing for your baby, depending on the room temperature. Avoid dressing your baby too warmly or using heavy blankets. Instead, opt for lightweight sleepwear and adjust the layers according to the ambient temperature.

Rule 6: Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both mother and baby, including promoting safe sleep. Breast milk contains antibodies and essential nutrients that enhance your baby’s immune system and overall health. It also reduces the risk of SIDS.

Establishing a breastfeeding routine can contribute to safe infant sleeping. When feeding your baby during the night, try to do so in a calm and quiet environment. Avoid falling asleep while breastfeeding on a couch or armchair, as this can increase the risk of accidental suffocation. Instead, create a safe space within your bedroom for nighttime feedings, such as a comfortable chair or nursing pillow.

Rule 7: Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking and alcohol consumption are detrimental to infant sleep safety. Both smoking during pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk of SIDS. Therefore, it’s vital to provide a smoke-free environment for your baby.

If you smoke, make every effort to quit. Avoid smoking inside the house or near your baby. Additionally, avoid consuming alcohol if you are the primary caregiver during sleep times. Alcohol impairs your judgment and responsiveness, increasing the risk of accidents or suffocation.


By adhering to the seven rules for safe infant sleeping, you can create a secure sleep environment for your baby and reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related incidents. Remember, always place your baby on their back to sleep, provide a firm sleep surface, and avoid loose bedding or objects in the crib. Room-sharing without bed-sharing, maintaining a comfortable sleep temperature, and practicing safe breastfeeding techniques are also essential. Lastly, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption to ensure a safe sleep environment for your little one.

Remember, prioritizing safe infant sleeping is essential for your baby’s health and well-being. By following these guidelines, you can provide your little one with a secure sleep environment, ensuring their safety and promoting healthy development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I use a pillow for my baby’s sleep?

A. No, it is not safe to use a pillow for your baby’s sleep. Pillows can pose a suffocation hazard and increase the risk of SIDS. It is best to keep the sleep surface free from any pillows or soft objects.

Q. Is it safe to use a baby monitor in the crib?

A. Baby monitors are not recommended to be placed directly in the crib. Instead, place the baby monitor at a safe distance from the sleep area to monitor your baby while they sleep.

Q. Can I swaddle my baby while they sleep?

A. Swaddling can be safe if done correctly. Use a lightweight and breathable swaddle blanket and ensure that it is not too tight around the baby’s chest. Once your baby starts showing signs of rolling over, it’s time to stop swaddling.

Q. What should I do if my baby rolls onto their stomach during sleep?

A. Once your baby is able to roll from back to stomach and stomach to back independently, you can allow them to find their own comfortable sleep position. However, always start with placing them on their back to sleep.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the back-to-sleep rule?

A. In certain medical conditions or under the guidance of a healthcare professional, there may be exceptions to the back-to-sleep rule. Consult with your pediatrician if you have concerns or if your baby has specific medical needs.

Remember, prioritizing safe infant sleeping is essential for your baby’s health and well-being. By following these guidelines, you can provide your little one with a secure sleep environment, ensuring their safety and promoting healthy development.

What Are The Safe Sleep Seven?
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Whitney Blair

I am Whitney Blair and I am passionate about healthy sleep at every stage of life. I understand the desperation you feel when in search of great sleep and how detrimental it can be to your physical and mental health. This website was designed to bring you comprehensive knowledge to help you and your loved ones achieve great, restorative sleep.

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