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There are many myths surrounding babies sleeping on their backs; however, science has proven that back is best for baby. Some commonly asked questions regarding these myths are:

Isn’t it easier for my baby to choke on her back?
No! Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffocate or choke. See why babies are less likely to choke while on their backs.

My baby isn’t comfortable and doesn’t sleep as well on her back.
Babies do sleep deeper on their stomachs, but it's safer for baby to wake through the night. When babies sleep deeper, they don't wake up as often. When a baby is in a deep sleep and needs to take a deep breath or wake up her airway may be blocked by the mattress or loose bedding or covered in some other way, so she will be at more risk for suffocation. Back sleeping is safest for your baby!

If I put my baby on her back, she’ll get a flat head.
For the most part, flat spots on a baby’s head go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up. There are other ways to reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head, such as providing "tummy time" when your baby is awake and someone is watching. "Tummy time" not only helps prevent flat spots, but it also helps a baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger.

How long should my baby sleep on her back?
Once your baby can roll from back to belly on their own, it's ok to leave her in the position she finds most comfortable. Remember to put your baby to sleep on her back for the first year.

Remember these ways to keep baby safest:

  • Don’t cover baby's head with a blanket or over bundle in clothing and blankets.
  • Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing.
  • Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature between 68 to 72 degrees.

More information:
National Institutes of Child Health and Development – Frequently Asked Questions for Safe Sleep

Page Updated: 07/24/2017