ABCs of Safe Sleep for Babies

October 24, 2022 

Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children one year old and younger. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, each year in the United States, approximately 3,500 infants die of sleep-related deaths. Sudden unexpected deaths include SIDS, accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment and other deaths from unknown causes.  

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program, created by Cribs for Kids, as a Safe Sleep Hospital. In addition, the hospital offers Safe Sleep classes in partnership with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. The hospital also provides a safe sleep swaddler for every delivered baby thanks to a grant from HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Foundation.

“While St. Elizabeth’s Women and Infants Center always educates new mothers about the risk factors associated with infant mortality, we are working diligently within the hospital and with community partners to increase this important education and resources with our mothers, families, and community to improve outcomes,” said Amanda Schaefer, nurse manager of St. Elizabeth’s Women and Infants Center. 

Other groups in the community are also educating and supporting the initiative through programs. SIHF Healthcare Healthy Start addresses infant mortality reduction through education and promotion of safe sleep practices, improving access to quality health care for women and their infants and the promotion of optimal health for women before, during and after pregnancy. HEALTHIER TOGETHER, a new collective impact movement addressing many health issues in the region, also participate with many organizations who make up the Maternal and Child Health partnership to promote their ABCs of Safe Sleep initiative. 

What are the ABCs of Safe Sleep? The answer is Alone, on their Backs, in a Safe Crib. 

  • Babies should always sleep alone. If moms are breastfeeding, soothe the baby back to sleep while standing and return to crib when they are asleep.
  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep.
  • A baby should sleep in a crib with a firm mattress covered by a tightly fitted sheet. Babies die every week in Illinois while sleeping in adult beds, couches, pillows, blankets and other soft surfaces, as well as in car seats, bouncy seats and infant swings. It is also important to keep stuffed animals, crib bumpers and other items out of the crib.

Parents, grandparents, babysitters and anyone else involved with the care of an infant are encouraged to be educated on the risks and safe sleep habits by visiting

HSHS St. Elizabeth's Women and Infants Center colleagues are pictured with the–Safe Sleep swaddler from HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Foundation and “Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug” books provided by SIHF Healthcare Healthy Start and HEALTHIER TOGETHER, which are distributed to moms delivering at the hospital as part of Safe Sleep/SIDS Awareness Month in October. Colleagues shown, from left to right, are Bernadette Kottkamp unit secretary, Emily Lombardi RN, Amanda Schaefer RN, and Sarah Winet RN. 


ABCs of Safe Sleep for Babies