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Attention all Region 7 Early Childhood Educators.png

One of the most important components of infant brain growth and development is sleep! Sleep is also protective against pediatric obesity. According to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), infants and toddlers require differing amounts of sleep based on their age. The amount of sleep needed is accrued between nighttime sleep and naps embedded throughout the day. As children get older, the number of hours needed for naptime decreases and most of the sleep occurs during the night.

  • Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours per day
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per day
  • Preschool-aged children (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day

Create a Safe Sleep Environment to Reduce SIDS

For children under the age of 12 months, back is best! To reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID, all infants should be placed on their back to sleep on a firm mattress in a CPSC-approved crib. If a child arrives at your facility asleep in a car seat or falls asleep on any other surface (i.e. car seat, bouncy seat, swing, etc.) while in care, immediately remove them from the apparatus and place them to sleep on their back in a crib.

Remove all toys and soft bedding from the crib, such as blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges; this will decrease the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation.


Are Pacifiers Safe in Cribs?

Yes, it is okay to place a pacifier in the crib with a child. In fact, pacifiers have been shown to have a protective effect against the incidence of SIDS. If pacifiers are used by the infant, you may provide the pacifier when placing the child down to sleep, but you do not need to reinsert the pacifier into the child’s mouth if it falls out while they are sleeping.

Do not provide sleeping children with pacifiers that are attached to their clothing, stuffed animals, or any other objects.


Do Not Use Cribs as Punishment

Do not place a child in a crib as a form of time-out. Cribs are for sleeping only! By using a crib as a form of punishment, children may begin to associate the crib with negative experiences, which could impact any positive sleep habits.

Additionally, if you lay a child down in a crib to sleep, but they are still active and awake – take them back out of the crib. Children should be left in a crib for no longer than 15 minutes if they are not using it for the purpose of sleeping.


New Health Inspection Guidelines for Supervision during Sleep

Central District Health has developed new guidelines for supervision of children under 12 months old. Infants should be directly observed by sight and sound at all times during sleep. This guideline is for all center-based, in-home, and group-home care. Audio or visual monitors are not to be used in place of direct supervision. These guidelines will be observed during your annual health inspection.


written by: Lindsey Lopez, M.A., Child Care Health Consultant

If you would like more information about safe sleep, please reach out to your regional Child Care Health Consultant by calling 2-1-1.