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Firm Bed, No Soft Toys or Bedding

To prevent smothering or suffocation, always lay your baby down to sleep on either a firm mattress or surface in a crib or bassinet. All your baby’s crib needs is the fitted sheet -- don't put blankets, quilts, pillows, sheepskin, stuffed toys, or crib bumpers in your baby's crib.

To confirm the safety of your baby's mattress or crib, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov.

Don't Smoke Around Your Baby

If you smoke, here's a huge reason to stop before you get pregnant: Babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy die from SIDS three times more often than babies born to nonsmokers. Smoking when you're pregnant is a major risk factor for SIDS, and secondhand smoke around your infant also increases the chances of SIDS. Don't let anyone smoke around your baby.

Keep Your Sleeping Baby Close, but Not in Your Bed

When a baby sleeps in the same room as mom, studies show it lowers the risk of SIDS. But it's dangerous for a baby to sleep with another child or an adult in the same bed, in an armchair, and on a couch.

If you bring your baby into your bed for comforting or breastfeeding, be sure to put the baby back in his own cradle, bassinet, or crib when you're ready to sleep.

Never bring the baby to bed with you when you're very tired or using medicines that affect your sleep.

Breastfeed as Long as You Can

Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%, though experts aren't sure why. Some think breast milk may protect babies from infections that raise their SIDS risk. Do not drink alcohol if you breastfeed, because that raises your baby’s risk of SIDS.

Immunize Your Baby

Evidence shows babies who’ve been immunized in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have a 50% reduced risk of SIDS compared with babies who aren’t fully immunized.