Press releases of the Ministry of Health

October is the month of safe sleep for infants

Published on October 17, 2023 in Editorial office

Department of Health launches Safe Sleep Hawaii website

HONOLULU – Governor Josh Green, MD, issued a proclamation declaring October as Safe Infant Sleep Month, in conjunction with the national observance of Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, to remind parents and caregivers that deaths related to sleep often prevent. In recognition, the Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH) recently launched Safe Sleep Hawai’i website with information, resources and recommendations to help parents and caregivers create a safe sleep environment for their babies.

“There are about 3,400 sleep-related deaths among babies in the US each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Annie Bell, supervisor in the DOH’s Maternal and Child Health Branch. “To help raise awareness of safe sleep messages, DOH has created a new Safe Sleep Hawai’i website and is running a year-long media campaign highlighting the alphabet of safe sleep: alone, on back and in crib.”

The Safe Sleep Alphabet is based on the following recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help parents and caregivers reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths:

  1. Always put your baby on his back for naps, naps, and naps.
  2. Never place soft objects such as pillows, blankets, toys or crib bumpers where your baby sleeps.
  3. Infants should sleep in your room and close to your bed, but on a special surface intended for infants, ideally for at least the first six months.
  4. Use a firm, flat, non-sloping sleeping surface to reduce the risk of suffocation or entrapment.
  5. Breastfeed and/or breastfeed both full-term and premature infants for at least the first six months if possible.
  6. Offer your baby a pacifier at bedtime and bedtime to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  7. Never smoke or use substances near your baby or allow anyone to smoke or use substances near your baby. During pregnancy and after childbirth, smoking and the use of substances such as alcohol, marijuana, opioids or other illegal drugs should be avoided.

The Safe Sleep Hawai’i website includes referral links for community organizations that partner with DOH in this initiative. Parental line offers parenting resources and information, including free online workshops on safe sleep. Tea Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Hawaii Coalition provides social services and clinical support for newborn families in Hawaiʻi, including the Hawaiʻi Cribs for Kids program that provides safe sleep education, support and cribs to income-eligible families.

To learn more about safe sleep and download the Safe Sleep Guide for Parents available in 12 languages, visit

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