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Safe Sleep For Infants

Sadly, between 2009 and 2013, 263 children in Colorado died due to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Younger infants, those between 1 and 4 months old, are the most vulnerable. These deaths are preventable.

Safe sleep practices are important for families to understand, but child care professionals also have an important role to play in keeping children safe and educating families.

The Colorado Department of Human Services requires all professionals who care for infants to be trained in safe sleep practices. Find a training here.

The following rules are set by CDHS and based on research and best practices from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

If you have questions about safe sleep or other health-related issues, contact your Child Care Health Consultant or Theresa Rapstine, Qualistar’s Registered Nurse (303-339-6811 or traspstine (at)

Remember These Key Points About Infants in Child Care

Keep Cribs Clear

  • Restrict soft bedding, toys and other items in cribs, which could pose a potential suffocation hazard.
  • Infants should always be placed on their backs to sleep in individual, safe cribs.
  • Limit alternate sleep positions unless approved by a child’s physician through a signed health care plan.
  • Offer pacifiers for infants who are one month old or older.
  • Require the use of safe sleep equipment. Prohibit the use of drop sided and stackable cribs. Refer to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for more information on safe sleep equipment.
  • Only use cribs for sleeping
  • Infants should never sleep in clothing with hoods or ties, bibs or necklaces.


  • In early care and education settings, swaddling is not recommended while an infant sleeps.
  • For infants who flip over while swaddled it is difficult for them to flip back over onto their backs.
  • Families who request their infants be swaddled must have an alternative health care plan from a physician.

Always Supervise Infants

  • The use of separate sleep rooms for infants is discouraged. If an early care and education program continues to use separate sleep rooms, check on sleeping infants at least once every 10 minutes.
  • Infants who fall asleep outside of the crib - in settings such as a swing, car seat, high chair or bouncer - must be moved immediately to a crib and placed on their backs.
  • Music must not be played so loud that an infant cannot be heard, and music should not be played within three feet of a sleeping infant.
  • 20-30 minutes of supervised tummy time is required for infants older than one month. Infants must be immediately placed on their backs in a crib if they fall asleep during tummy time.

Keep Infants Cool

  • Early care and education professionals must ensure room temperature is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Check infants to ensure they are comfortably clothed and not overheated or sweaty.
  • Sleep sacks that do not confine arms should be used instead of blankets.

Create a Safe Sleep Policy

  • Early care and education programs must have policies for safe sleep environments for infants and a policy on the protection of infants from second hand smoke.
  • Download a sample safe sleep policy.

Visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website to download the complete safe sleep rules.

To help ensure children are safe when they nap at an early care and education center, teachers who care for infants are required to complete an approved safe sleep training every year. Find a training here.

Qualistar Colorado offers professional development classes on a variety of topics, including safe sleep. Like us on Facebook to learn more about the trainings we provide and email us to let us know what topics interest you.