Teaching Parents the ABCs of Sleep for SIDS Awareness Month


ABC means ‘Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib’ — and that’s how parents are remembering the essentials for keeping their babies safe from sleep related deaths.

Approximately 3,500 healthy infants die every year from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Last year, 50 percent of all preventable infant deaths were attributed to unsafe sleeping practices, including being accidentally smothered by co-sleeping parents or suffocated by excess stuffed toys and blankets in the sleeping area.


Dr. Thibodeaux

Brent Thibodeaux, MD, pediatrician for Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, recently explained updated SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) guidelines in the Washington Parent magazine.

In the publication, Dr. Thibodeaux noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) added a new recommendation that every parent should be aware of.

He wrote: “For some time, pediatricians have recommended that infants be placed on their backs for sleep and that cribs or bassinets should consist only of a firm mattress tightly covered with a sheet, with no soft bedding or other materials. That means no bumper pads, no blankets or pillows and no stuffed animals – they all pose a risk of suffocation. Placing infants on their sides or stomachs to sleep is not recommended.

In October 2016, the AAP added a new recommendation to the list: parents should have their infant sleep with them in the same room, although not in the same bed. Room sharing – placing your baby’s crib, bassinet or play yard in your bedroom, ideally close to your own bed – can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent, according to the AAP. It’s recommended that your baby share your room for at least the first six months of life and optimally for the entire first year.”

SIDS Awareness Month

October is SIDS Awareness Month, and Kaiser Permanente is helping educate parents with an important sleep safe message.

That message is the ABCs of Sleep: Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib.

Alone means no co-sleeping with parents or sibling, and no stuffed animals, blankets, crib bumpers, or sleep clothing that could cover a baby’s face, since infants haven’t yet developed neck muscles to move and clear their own airways.

For the first years of life, babies should be placed near parents but in their own sleep spaces — cribs, bassinets, or “pack and plays” — with only fitted sheets. They should be on their backs, not on their stomachs. (They can have supervised “tummy time” during the day to build those neck muscles.)

Last month, our organization supported Virginia’s Safe Sleep 365 campaign, which was designed to educate parents and caregivers regarding the steps they can take to prevent infant sleep-related death.  Learn more about that effort here.

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