Most people who care for babies suppose that a baby is always safe while sleeping. However, some sleep situations can lead to injury or death. Young babies have suffocated in soft bedding materials and others have died when they became caught between the mattress and the bed frame. Some babies have even been smothered by a parent who rolled over them while sleeping in the same bed. These situations can be prevented.

DON’T place your baby to sleep on any soft, loosely filled surface, such as comforters, pillows, sheepskins, or cushions filled with polystyrene beads. These surfaces can mold to your baby’s face and interfere with breathing.

■ DON’T allow hanging crib toys (mobiles, crib gyms) within your baby’s reach. Remove any hanging crib toy when your baby begins to push up on her hands and knees or when she is 5 months old, whichever comes first. These toys can strangle your baby.

■ DON’T let your baby sleep on a waterbed. Babies can become trapped and suffocate. ■ DON’T use thin plastic wrapping materials such as cleaning bags or trash bags as mattress covers. Do not allow these things near your baby. The baby may suffocate if these items are near the face.

Recommended: baby high chair

■ DON’T allow your baby’s head to become covered during sleep.

■ DON’T allow cords from drapes or window blinds near the crib. Do not place any items with strings or small parts near the crib. These things can strangle or choke the baby.

■ DON’T leave the baby alone on a couch or a bed.