Safe Sleep: Tips for a Secure and Comfortable Sleep Environment for Your Baby

Safe Sleep: Tips for a Secure and Comfortable Sleep Environment for Your Baby

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Creating a safe sleep space for your baby

We’re the kind of people who notice everything, from trends in sleep data to the slightly crooked diplomas hanging on our favorite doctor’s office wall. We studied many a nursery in perfecting Nanit. And, in doing so, we noticed something important – some sleep environments weren’t completely optimized for safety. Bumpers, blankets and soft toys showed up in many cribs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), such soft items are a safety hazard and can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Until babies reach the age of one, they don’t have the strength or skills to get out of a potentially dangerous situation. So even something seemingly innocent like a blankie or bumper ties could lead to suffocation or choking.

As parents, we get that it’s counterintuitive in a way – the very things that seem like they’d make baby’s sleep environment extra cuddly and comfy are actually unsafe. So we put together this handy tip sheet of do’s and don’ts, that way you’ll always know just how to create a safe sleep environment for baby.

Safe Sleep Tips

Sleep do’s and don’ts for children 12 months of age and younger, in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  1. Keep it bare

Babies only really need three basic things for sleep:

  1. Their own sleep space (make sure it's a bassinet or crib that meets safety standards)
  2. A firm, full-size crib mattress on a level surface
  3. A fitted sheet (such as the Nanit Knit Crib Sheet)

The AAP cautions, “Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and the fitted sheet. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion, or sheepskin.”

  1. Ditch the soft “extras”

The following crib items pose entrapment, suffocation or strangulation risks:

  • Wedges and positioners
  • Bumper pads
  • Soft toys and stuffed animals
  • Sheepskins
  • Pillows
  • Blankets, quilts, comforters
  • Loose bedding
  1. Balance back and tummy time

Always place babies on their back for sleep, whether it’s day or night. The AAP also advises incorporating supervised “tummy time” during the day, which strengthens infant neck and shoulder muscles, plus prevents flat head spots.

  1. Choose light layers

The sleep environment should be cool and comfortable, and so should baby’s sleep attire. The AAP recommends dressing baby “in no more than one extra layer than you would wear.” Footed pj’s or sleeping bags are a great option for those cold winter nights, such as Nanit Breathing Wear Pajamas or Sleep Wear Pajamas.

Key takeaways

  • Creating a safe sleep environment for babies under 12 months is important to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Follow recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) by keeping the sleep space bare, placing babies on their backs to sleep, and incorporating supervised "tummy time" during the day.
  • Ensure products in your nursery, like Nanit, meet safety standards and certifications for your own peace of mind.

Wondering how Nanit measures up when it comes to safety? Rest assured, it’s a monitor that’s 100% baby-proof, from its anti-tip stand to its shatterproof lens. It also meets ASTM certification guidelines. Learn more about the camera here.

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Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.