Family Development - A Caregiver's Guide

Your Newborn’s Safety

Safe Infant Sleep

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are safest when sleeping alone, on their backs in a crib near their parents’ bed for the first year of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends the following:

  • The crib mattress should fit tightly in its frame and have a snug fitted sheet
  • The crib should be undamaged and meet current Consumer Product Safety guidelines (
  • If a blanket is needed, babies should be placed near the foot of the crib and a thin blanket should be tucked around the sides and bottom of the mattress to avoid covering the baby’s head
  • No other objects should be placed in the crib
  • The crib should always be placed in a room that is smoke free
  • Offering a pacifier has also been linked to a decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Other Safety Tips for Newborns

A Home Safety Checklist should be completed at each stage of your child’s development (sample checklist).

Most infant falls are from furniture. Help prevent falls by:

  • Never leaving your baby unsupervised on any surface above the floor
  • Always using the safety belts on changing tables, bouncy seats and swings

Most burns in children under five are caused by scalding liquids. Help prevent burns by:

  • Setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below
  • Never carrying hot liquids while carrying your infant
  • Never warming baby bottles in the microwave—microwaves heat unevenly and your baby may be burned by hot spots

Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Help prevent drowning by:

  • Always staying with your baby during bath time
  • Never leaving an older child to watch your baby near the water

Many everyday items can cause choking or suffocation in infants. Help prevent choking and suffocation by:

  • Removing small objects and plastic bags from your baby’s environment
  • Keeping balloons, blind cords and strings away from your baby

You can keep your infant safe and help prevent motor vehicle injuries by:

  • Always placing your newborn in a rear facing infant car seat whenever you travel in a vehicle
  • Never leaving your infant alone in the car—even in mild weather, the temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels in minutes

Positive Parenting Activities that Promote Nurturing and Attachment

  • Breastfeeding
  • Responding promptly to your baby’s cries
  • Rocking, singing and comforting your baby
  • Maintaining loving relationships with other caregivers
  • Keeping primary caregivers consistent over time so attachments can form