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Provider Fact Sheet: Safe Sleep for Infants

Infant sleep-related deaths are one of the leading causes of infant death in Baltimore City, and these deaths are overwhelmingly preventable. There are steps we can take to ensure that no other families in Baltimore experience these tragedies.  B’more for Healthy Babies’ SLEEP SAFE Campaign brings together healthcare providers, community members, and service agencies to promote AAP recommendations for safe sleep and help connect families to services, resources, and information. This coordinated program of patient education, policy change, mass media campaigns, and community outreach has led to a XX decrease in sleep-related deaths and a 40% decrease in the black-white disparity since 2009. 
Healthcare providers help prevent these deaths when they counsel parents and families on best practices for infant safe sleep. This fact sheet provides tips and resources to support patient education and referrals.
Risk Factors
Standardized Patient Education Messages

The Baltimore City Health Department routinely examines the factors surrounding infant sleep-

related deaths during the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR). These trends have emerged:


  • In almost all deaths, babies were not sleeping in a crib.

  • Most were sharing a bed with a family member, or sleeping on a sofa. 

  • Often, babies were not placed to sleep on their backs.

  • Most babies were not living in a smoke-free home. 


We also know that many families experience significant 

barriers to safe sleep, such as a lack of stable housing, that are important to address when you counsel patients.

Babies should never sleep with anyone else. Share a room, but not a bed with your baby.

Babies should always sleep in a crib – every night and every nap. The crib should be clean and clear. There should be no toys or blankets in the crib.

Babies should always sleep on their backs. Babies are less likely to choke when on their backs.

Never smoke cigarettes or marijuana in a home with babies, young children, or pregnant women. Smoke in the home makes it harder for babies to breathe well.

Risk Factors
Don't Smoke
What You Can Do
  • Your words count. Use B’more for Healthy Babies’ ABCDs of safe sleep consistently. Begin patient education on safe sleep during the prenatal period.

  • Ask about their concerns or barriers and take a moment to problem-solve with parents.

  • Confirm the family’s safe sleep plan when close to delivery and at discharge.

  • Show our updated SLEEP SAFE videos for moms, dads, and caregivers on your patient education channels or waiting room video systems.

  • Distribute our SLEEP SAFE rack card. Order free copies here. 

Provide Patient Education

What You Can Do
  • Complete the Maryland Prenatal Risk Assessment (PRA) form for all pregnant Medicaid-eligible women during the first prenatal visit and fax it to HealthCare Access Maryland at 1-888-657-8712. This form connects families with home visiting, safe sleep education, and many other services. 

  • Screen for substance use and mental health once every trimester during pregnancy.

  • Refer to the 24-hour Crisis, Information, & Referral Hotline at 410-433-5175. For tobacco cessation, refer to the’s Fax to Assist Program or call 1-800-QUITNOW.

  • Refer families to BHB’s free portable crib program. If eligible, a safe sleep educator will come to the home to set up the portable crib and provide education. Call HealthCare Access Maryland at 410-649-0500 or use the HCAM referral form.

  • For breastfeeding families, refer parents to AAP guidelines. 

  • Refer parents to resources that address common problems that interfere with safe sleep

    • ​Learn how to deal with a fussy baby: 1-800-243-7337

    • Find treatment for substance use or mental health problems: 410-433-5175

    • Get help with quitting tobacco: 1-800-784-8669

Assess and Refer (Referral Points from Prenatal through 1st Year of Life)


Spread the Word


Post messages about safe sleep on social media using #NotOneMoreBaltimore. For sample posts and graphics, use our SLEEP SAFE social media toolkit.

  • Find referral numbers for other services/programs such as food stamps, cash assistance, WIC, lead exposure, parenting support and more.

Get Connected

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