Overview to Infant Safe Sleep

The NC Infant Safe Sleep Program (formerly the NC Back to Sleep Campaign) is a multi-strategic initiative designed to increase practices that reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) which prevent other infant sleep-related deaths.

Nationally and in North Carolina, deaths from SIDS has declined dramatically since 1992 when the American Academy of Pediatrics first recommended that babies be placed on their backs to sleep. Unfortunately, in recent years North Carolina has seen a dramatic increase in sleep-related deaths from preventable causes including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia.

In North Carolina, almost 150 families tragically lost a baby to a sleep-related death in 2015. Many of these can be prevented.

The NC Infant Safe Sleep Program educates and trains parents, other caregivers, childcare providers, health and social service providers, hospital staff and policy makers about practices and policies that reduce the risk of (or prevent) infants dying while sleeping.

Technical Assistance

The NC Infant Safe Sleep Program handles technical assistance requests from across the country as well as in North Carolina. Technical assistance provided includes:

  • Development or evaluation of educational materials
  • Assessment and development of infant safe sleep policies
  • Professional and community-based training
  • Outreach and training for hospitals
  • Creation of a hospital certification program


In 2002, in response to a historic trend of significant numbers of SIDS deaths in childcare settings, the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation launched the ITS-SIDS or Infant/Toddler Safe Sleep and SIDS Risk-Reduction Childcare Project.

As a result of this four-year project, SIDS deaths in NC childcare settings, historically the majority of deaths in child care, have become a rare event. The ITS-SIDS curriculum is the state mandated training for childcare providers working with infants, and the training and certification process has been institutionalized in state government.



A strong media presence has always been a component of the NC Infant Safe Sleep Program. Over the years, both radio and television spots have been created and aired, and staff have been interviewed on live broadcasts. The 30-second “Danger” ad (and the Spanish version “Peligro”) grabs viewers’ attention.

Danger – Keep your baby safe. Learn more about how to reduce the risk of SIDS (English version)

View on YouTube

Peligro — Aprenda más sobre cómo reducir el riesgo de el SIDS.

View on YouTube

A series of videos and webinars on infant safe sleep can be viewed here.

Education Materials

One of the primary goals of the NC Infant Safe Sleep Campaign is to create educational materials for the public using current research and information. All of our materials are created in English and Spanish. New materials are reviewed by our interagency Safe Sleep Advisory Group and input and feedback is given by focus groups with parents. You can view our online Parenting Publications.

Affiliations and Partnerships

A key to success of the NC Infant Safe Sleep Campaign has been the extensive and diverse public/private partnerships developed and maintained over the years.

The North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation is closely linked with the leading national SIDS organizations including the Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs (ASIP), First Candle/SIDS Alliance and Cribs for Kids.

In North Carolina, the Foundation convenes an interagency NC Infant Safe Sleep Advisory Group twice a year for updates on related research and statistics, new safe sleep guidelines, identify needs in North Carolina, set priorities and to share information and resources. In addition, critical information about infant safe sleep is brought to the NC Child Fatality Task Force through our agency’s participation in its Perinatal Health subcommittee.

Since 2013, our agency has coordinated Wake Up – Infant Safe Sleep and provided infant safe sleep classes and crib distribution in a partnership with Wake County Human Services. Eligible women who lack resources to purchase a safe crib are referred and can purchase a crib at a nominal price after attending a class.

Last updated: Oct 26, 2016 @ 3:36 pm