Knox County Tennessee

Safe sleep now for a Stronger Baby later

A baby requires sleep. Lots of it. It’s typical for an infant to sleep up to 16-17 hours a day. How babies sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep they get.

Recently, our region has seen an alarming rise in the number of accidental infant deaths, most of which are related to unsafe sleep practices.

These are tragedies that can be largely prevented through awareness and putting safe sleep recommendations into practice.

Practice safe sleep now for a strong baby later. Visit to learn more!

What is considered a safe sleep environment?

A safe sleep environment can help reduce the risks of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as suffocation. KCHD recommends following the safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Share a room with baby for at least the first 6 months, with baby in their own sleep space (crib, bassinet, or portable pack and play), separate from your bed.
    Babies with their own sleep area are at lower risk for injury and death from situations like an adult accidentally rolling over them. Having baby’s sleep space near, but not in your bed is safer than sharing bed with baby. It is also safer than putting baby in their own room.
  • Place all babies—including those born preterm and those with reflux—on their backs for all sleep times (naps and at night) until they are one year old.
    Lying on the back helps your baby to easily draw in air by keeping the mouth and nose free of obstructions. An infant sleeping on its side or stomach increases the risk of SIDs.

*Can’t afford a crib for your infant?

The Knox County Health Department Cribs for Kids program may be able to help. Call 865-215-5170 or email to see if you qualify for assistance.

  • Use a sleep surface for baby that is firm and flat, level (not at an angle or inclined), and covered only with a fitted sheet in a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable crib.
    Soft surfaces, like couches, memory foam or air mattresses, armchairs, and thick blankets or quilts are not safe places for babies to sleep. Sitting devices, such as swings or car seats, and inclined or tilted sleep surfaces, with one end higher than the other, are also not safe sleep places for babies.
  • Keep things out of baby’s sleep area—no objects, toys, or loose items.
    Research links crib bumpers and soft, thick bedding to serious injuries and deaths from suffocation, entrapment, strangulation and SIDS. Remove things from baby’s sleep area, especially if they are:
    • Soft or squishy (pillows, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers)
    • Plush or thick (comforters and blankets)
    • Loose (non-fitted sheets and blankets)
    • Weighted (weighted blankets, weighted swaddles, weighted objects)

Safe Sleep Checklist

Safe Check List

Have Questions?
Call: 865-215-5555

Need to report a public
health emergency?

Call 865-215-5093

On the first Wednesday of every month, all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.

Clinics will also open at 10:30 a.m. (Main location) and 11 a.m. (West Clinic) on the following Wednesdays: April 17 and July 17. All other offices will open at 8 a.m.