The latest guidelines to help ensure safe sleep for a baby

To guard against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), parents should place their baby in a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom and offer the child a pacifier at bedtime and naptime, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. In the most recent guidelines on SIDS prevention, the Academy warns that sleeping in bed with parents or on a couch or armchair with an adult can be hazardous to infants, who may accidentally suffocate.

"Infants may be brought into bed for nursing or comforting, but should be returned to their own crib or bassinet when the parent is ready to return to sleep," the new policy states; it adds, however, that "the risk of SIDS has been shown to be reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother."

Citing compelling evidence that pacifiers also lower the risk of SIDS, the Academy recommends using a pacifier when putting the infant down to sleep through the first year of life. If the baby refuses the pacifier, do not force it. The new guidelines stress that infants should be placed only on their backs to sleep. The Academy no longer recognizes a side position as safe.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 23 Aug 2010

Last Modified: 22 Jan 2015