Safe Sleep for Every Sleep

The number of children under 1 year of age that die from a sleep-related cause such as SIDS, suffocation, entrapment or asphyxia has remained fairly constant in the State of Georgia.

The risks for sleep-related death are known and it is possible to drastically lower the chances of death by following a few guidelines and understanding the importance of safe sleep practices.

The ABCs of Safe Sleep

To coincide with the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Safe to Sleep campaign, Georgia’s Safe to Sleep Campaign centers on the ABCs of safe sleep recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics: 

  • Alone – Babies should sleep alone in their own sleep space, close to but separate from their caregiver. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but avoid sleeping in the same bed with the infant.  
  • Back – Babies should be placed on their back to sleep. Studies show that placing infants on their back for all sleep times, including naps and at night, dramatically reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Crib – Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet that meets standards set forth by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The mattress should be firm and covered with a tight-fitting bottom sheet made specifically for the crib. No blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, toys or any objects should be in baby’s sleeping space.

History of Safe Sleep Recommendations

Ensuring the safety of infants while sleeping – either at night or even for a brief nap – has been a national public health endeavor that gained momentum in the 1990s.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a partner to Georgia’s Safe to Sleep Campaign, led this effort nationally and remains one of the foremost sources of evidence-based safe sleep recommendations.

  • 1992 – AAP issued its first recommendation on infant sleep which was to place infants on their back (also called the “prone position”) or on their side. Until this time, there was no consistent recommendation rooted in science and based upon research.
  • 1994 – National Institute on Child Health and Development launched the “Back to Sleep” Campaign.  This campaign was very successful and resulted in a large number of children being placed either on their back or side for sleep. The result was a dramatic drop in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths. 
  • 2005 – AAP changed its recommendation from supine (back) or side to supine only. It eliminated any recommendation of side sleeping for healthy infants. 
  • 2011 – AAP further expanded its recommendations on infant safe sleep to include the sleep environment because data revealed that environmental factors, alongside other risk factors for SIDS, collectively contribute to infant sleep-related deaths.

For more information on the National Safe to Sleep Campaign, visit





Page last updated 03/08/2016