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Safe sleep Children's Wisconsin

Safe sleep is as easy as A, B, C

For any new baby — and new parent — sleep is vitally important. But as any new parent knows, it’s not always as simple as you’d think. From needing regular feedings to constant developmental milestones, finding a consistent sleep schedule for your baby can be a challenge. And that doesn’t even take into account the equally important consideration of safe sleep. 

Every year in the United States, about 3,500 babies die of sleep-related causes. These deaths are unbelievably tragic, but also preventable. To help educate the community and ensure all babies are sleeping soundly and safely, Children’s Wisconsin has dedicated an entire team to keep babies safe while they’re sleeping at home and in the hospital.

The Children’s Wisconsin Safe Sleep team brings together nurses, social workers, risk specialists and Inclusion, Diversity and Equity staff from across the system to address sleep safety from every angle. One of the primary goals of the team is to help parents understand and adopt safe sleep practices, including the ABCs of safe sleep, which states that babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs and in a Crib or Pack ‘n Play.

Staff members provide one-on-one education for families in the hospital, answer questions and address areas of special concern. During a visit, the team might provide strategies to help parents stick to safe sleep practices in stressful situations, such as when a baby cries for extended periods of time. Staff also reinforce the message that putting infants to sleep on their backs does not increase risks for choking.

Providing the best and safest care means working together to address issues that impact the health and well-being of kids and families. And that includes helping the tiniest and most vulnerable patients stay safe while sleeping.

Ways to help your baby sleep safely


  • Make sure there is nothing else in your baby’s environment such as toys or loose blankets or YOU! 

  • If you’re worried your baby is too cold without a blanket, swaddle them or put them in a sleep sack to keep them warm. 


  • Put your baby on their back to sleep. Once they start to grow, they will naturally roll, but initially, they should be placed on their back.

  • Positioning an infant on their side does not lower the risk for choking. Baby is safest on their back. 


  • The best sleep environment for your baby is a crib or Pack ‘n Play. There are many products on the market that claim to be for sleep, but no other products have been approved by the federal government or the American Academy of Pediatrics as a safe-sleep environment. 

  • Share a room, not a bed. It is perfectly natural to want to keep your baby close by, but have them in your room, not your bed for their safety. 

If you have any questions about your baby’s sleep — from safety to helping set a routine — talk to your baby’s pediatrician. They know your baby well and are here to help.