Op-ed | NYC moms and dads: Follow these safe sleep tips for your infants

Safe sleeping infant
Follow the ABC’s of safe sleep for infants to keep your little ones protected while in dreamland.
Photo via Getty Images

Did you know there are three simple steps you can take to help make sure your baby sleeps safely? They’re called the ABC’s of safe sleep: Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib, play yard, or bassinet.

In my role, I have seen loving parents suffer the loss of a child because of an unsafe sleeping environment. No one should have to suffer such devastating grief. These simple actions – the ABCs of safe sleep – can save your child’s life. 

In addition to being Commissioner of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), I’m a parent. And, I remember just how stressful and overwhelming caring for an infant can be. That’s why I’m so proud that ACS is here to share information with families that can help them protect their precious little ones. At ACS, we dream of a world where all children reach their full potential – and that starts by creating a secure, safe environment from day one. 

October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month, and the perfect time to remind parents and caregivers that they aren’t alone when it comes to their infant’s safety and well-being. Throughout the month, ACS will host Safe Sleep Information and Resource Fairs to help spread awareness about these life-saving steps. At the fairs, ACS will also conduct crib demonstrations that simulate a safe sleeping environment for infants and distribute information and resources about how to keep infants up to a year old safe while sleeping.

For instance, ACS is encouraging families to take the following steps to keep children safe:

  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any other items that could increase the risk of suffocation out of the baby’s sleep area.
  • Place babies on their backs to sleep. Babies breathe better on their backs than on their stomachs or sides.
  • Put babies to sleep on a flat, firm sleep surface with a fitted sheet made for that specific product. Though putting a pillow on top of the mattress might seem more comfortable, babies are at a higher risk of suffocating on the soft surface.
  • Avoid bringing the baby into bed with you, even if you think it will keep the baby warmer. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, dress them in a wearable blanket, such as a sleep sack, or in another layer of infant clothing.
  • A baby should never sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or a chair with anyone. Babies can suffocate if another person accidentally rolls on top of them or covers their nose and mouth or, more commonly, if the baby rolls into a sleeping adult and is unable to roll away.

I invite you to join us at a resource fair in your community. To see the full list of fairs, click here

For more information on infant safe sleep best practices or resources in your community, visit nyc.gov/SafeSleep or call 311 and ask for Safe Sleep.

Jess Dannhauser is the commissioner of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.