Providing a safe sleep environment is critical to preventing SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. “Always, for naps and at night, place an infant on his or her back to sleep,” says Angie Quirk, RN, director of Lake Health Maternal and Child Services. “Babies placed on the stomach or side to sleep have the highest risk of SIDS.” To reduce strangulation, suffocation or entrapment, place the infant in a safety-approved crib with closed sides or properly spaced slats, and don’t use bumper pads. The crib should have a firm mattress with a fitted sheet. To be sure nothing covers the baby’s head, dress the infant in sleepwear and don’t use blankets or allow pillows, soft objects, toys or any loose bedding in the crib. Never use a pacifier on a string which could strangle the infant. While it’s good to have the baby’s bed near the parent’s bed, an infant should never sleep on an adult bed, couch or chair, whether alone, with you or with another person. These conditions greatly increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, injury and death. And don’t be swayed by products that claim they prevent SIDS but haven’t been tested for safety or effectiveness. So far, there’s no known way to prevent SIDS. Swaddling infant wraps also reduce the risk of SIDS. That’s why, thanks to a grant from The Hershey Foundation, newborns at West and TriPoint medical centers receive a Halo Sleep Sack when they go home.