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Taking Care of a Baby

What you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS

Provided by the California SIDS Program under funding by the California Department of Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Branch, California SIDS Program

Put the baby down to sleep on his or her back. One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS is to place a baby on his/her back to sleep. Health care providers now recommend that babies be placed on their back to sleep. Keep in mind that: 

* Babies that can turn from back to front on their own should not be     forced to stay on the back. 

* Babies should be placed in a variety of positions while awake.

* Babies with certain health problems may need to sleep on their stomach. Discuss this with the baby's parents. 

Provide the baby with smoke free surroundings. 

*Provide a smoke free environment to reduce the risk of SIDS. 

* SIDS is more common among those babies who are exposed to smoke from tobacco products. 

* Smoke is not good for a baby. Babies exposed to smoke have more colds and other illnesses. 

Use the correct bedding for the baby. 

* A baby should sleep on a firm mattress or other firm surface. Make sure there are no ledges or gaps into which the baby could fall. 

* Do not place the baby to sleep on a waterbed, sheepskin, pillow or any other soft materials. 

* Do not use fluffy blankets or comforters under the baby. Remove pillows, stuffed toys, and bumper pads from the crib of young babies. 

Do not overdress the baby. 

* Babies need to be kept warm, not hot. If the room temperature is right for you, it will be right for the baby. As a general rule, dress the baby with the same amount of clothing that you are wearing. 

Keeping a baby healthy. 

* It is important for babies to have regular checkups and immunizations. 

* Talk to the parents about this and a plan to follow if the baby gets sick. 

At the present time, there is no known way to predict or prevent a SIDS death. However, recent research has shown that these infant care practices have significantly reduced the risk of SIDS.

For more information contact: 5330 Primrose Drive, Suite 231, Fair Oaks, CA 95628-3542. 1-800-369-SIDS-within California or 916-536-0146 Fax-916-536-0167 or Email:


California Child Care Healthline

Toll Free 800.333.3212

The purpose of the Child Care Healthline is to provide information that will promote the health and well-being of children, families and caregivers in a variety of child care settings. A toll free consultation service for California child care professionals and the families they serve is listed above.

Center for Injury Prevention, Policy and Practice

The center for Injury Prevention, Policy and Practice of San Diego State University publishes Safety Tip Sheets that provide information to promote safe environments in child care facilities.  There are different Safety Tip Sheets for each age group and are available in English and Spanish.

For the Safety Tip Sheets or more information visit their website at