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SIDS & Child Care Providers

Child Care and SIDS

Child care providers should be aware of and follow current recommendations concerning infant care. Twenty percent of SIDS deaths occur in child care settings. Many of these deaths occur during the first week of child care. Why this happens remains unclear, but child care-related studies suggest unaccustomed tummy sleeping as a preventable risk factor, either by being placed on the tummy or by rolling over onto the tummy when this is not a usual sleep position.

One of the most effective strategies in reducing SIDS and accidental suffocation is to promote a safe sleep environment. Following the recommendations and promoting safe sleep can prevent deaths due to accidental suffocation, overlay and entrapment.

What Can A Child Care Provider Do to Promote Safe Sleep?

  1. Always place the baby on his or her back to sleep in a safety-approved crib, for both bed time and nap time (unless otherwise specified by the baby’s physician). Side sleeping is not recommended as a safe alternative to back sleeping. For information on crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s web site at
  2. Sleep one baby per crib.
  3. Remove all extra bedding (i.e., blankets, pillows, quilts, etc.) and toys from the crib.
  4. Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8” apart
  5. Do not overheat the baby, and do not cover the baby’s head or face.
  6. Do not allow smoking near the baby. If a child care provider does smoke, he or she should do so outside while wearing a jacket. Before the provider touches or picks up the baby, the provider should remove the jacket and wash hands and face. The Child Care Act of 1969 prohibits smoking in any area of a day care center, day care home or group day care home.
  7. Discuss pacifier use with the parents. Pacifiers are now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for infants 1 month to 1 year of age.
  8. Share safe sleep policies with all staff and volunteers.

For a complete list of the American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for a Safe Sleeping Environment, click here

Do Not Allow the Following in Cribs

  1. Soft bedding (i.e., blankets, pillows, quilts, comforters, etc.)
  2. Bumpers
  3. Stuffed toys
  4. Positioning devices, such as wedges and positioners (without a doctor’s approval)
  5. Pets

Licensing Standards for Child Care Centers

For more information on licensing standards in Illinois, please visit Other states can view their licensing standards at

SIDS and Infant Safe Sleep Training for Child Care Providers

In Illinois, all licensed child care providers are required to receive training on SIDS risk reduction and infant safe sleep every three years to maintain licensure. Below are links to organizations that offer in-person or online training.