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How Can I Be Sure My Baby Stays on Her Back While She Sleeps?

Medically reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

I know I'm supposed to put my baby on her back when she goes to sleep, but what if she rolls over in the night or spits up?

By having your baby sleep on her back, you decrease her chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS, the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old, has been linked to infants sleeping on their stomachs.

Older infants may not stay on their backs all night long, and that's OK. Once babies consistently roll over from front to back and back to front, it's fine for them to be in the sleep position they choose. Do not use positioners, wedges, and other devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.

As for spitting up, there is no increased risk of choking for healthy infants or most babies with gastroesophageal reflux (GER) who sleep on their backs. If your baby has severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or an airway problem, your doctor may suggest another sleep position.

Medically reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: December 2021