Medical Examiner

Safe Living: Safe sleep environment for infants

February 19, 2014
Infant deaths increase in Travis County in the past six weeks.
The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office reports that five infant deaths in the past six weeks have occurred in Travis County in situations where babies were sharing the same sleep surface with one or more adults....

This video is part of the series “On Call” that is produced for Travis County’s cable access channel, TCTV-17.


No Pillow
No Pillow

Infants can easily suffocate and die in soft bedding material. Because of this, infants should not be placed to sleep on adult beds, couches, futons, waterbeds, etc.

Infants should sleep alone, because they may be rolled over upon (overlaid) by a bedsharing adult or sibling. If on a couch, an infant may slip into the space between the person lying on the couch and the backrest of the couch, and become wedged, preventing them from breathing adequately. They may get their face wedged between two cushions or into a soft cushion. Cribs should not contain pillows, thick blankets or comforters, plush materials, stuffed toys, or anything else that a baby could suffocate on. Bumper pads should not be used, because an infant can wedge their face between the bumper pad and the mattress.

Most of the infant accidental deaths that occur in Travis County are due to infants suffocating in unsafe sleep environments. These deaths are preventable. Infants should always be placed to sleep alone, on their back, in a safety-approved crib, with a tight fitting sheet on a firm mattress, without any extra pillows, stuffed animals, or other potentially hazardous items. Infants should sleep in the same room as adults, but in their own safe crib.

 Download a printable PDF of our Safe Sleep flyer.

Infant (1 day to 1 year of age) deaths reported to the Medical Examiner in Travis County, 2008-2014

Safe Sleep Chart

Infants can be easily suffocated (death from the inability to breathe adequately). 13 of the 14 suffocation deaths in these infants were related to unsafe sleeping conditions such as bedsharing in adult beds with other individuals and/or the use of unsafe/adult-type bedding materials. One suffocation death was unexplained.

Travis County Billboards Urge Safe Sleep for Babies

Safe Sleep Billboard

Find out more about the billboards in Travis County!

For more information:

Child Safety and Injury Prevention

Last Modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:42 PM