Medical Examiner

Safe Living: Safe sleep environment for infants

Sept. 29, 2014
Travis County infant suffocation deaths highlight need for October Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month.
This year, Travis County has seen 10 infant suffocation deaths, including nine associated with the risk factor of bed-sharing. The alarming increase in infant deaths already surpasses the last two years’ totals–nine in 2012 and eight in 2013....

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: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:05 AM