The Safe Sleep Task Force

The Safe Sleep for Baby campaign is overseen by a multi-agency task force that is committed to raising awareness about infant safe sleeping practices.


ICAN Safe Sleep History

In 2008 and 2009, the ICAN Child Death Review Team released information regarding the tragic deaths of infants under 1 year of age after co-sleeping with one or more adults or other unsafe sleeping practices. In April 2009, the team recommended a broad multi-agency response to prevent these deaths. The policy committee of ICAN adopted these recommendations, encouraging all agencies to collaboratively participate in this effort. A Safe Sleep Tips for Your Baby pamphlet was then published through the joint work of ICAN, the L.A. County Department of Public Health and First 5 LA.

During the summer of 2009, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors joined ICAN in declaring Infant Safe Sleep Days.

On July 14, 2010, ICAN convened the first meeting of the Infant Safe Sleeping Task Force in collaboration with the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. This task force formed five subcommittees: 1) Evaluation and Investigation, 2) Identification of Existing Campaigns and Resources, 3) Cultural Challenges and Community Outreach, 4) Campaign Slogan Marketing and 5) Development of Resources, Funding and Support.

In 2012, ICAN Associates partnered with First 5 LA on a two-year $1.5 million infant safe sleeping campaign called "Safe Sleep for Baby" to save families from the preventable tragedy of losing their infants due to unsafe sleeping practices. The goal of this partnership has been to create a campaign that raises awareness of best practices for residents of Los Angeles County through compelling messages about the dangers of unsafe sleeping practices and offer safe sleep solutions for caregivers of infants up to 1 year of age.

The task force has been actively involved in the pursuit of strategies and activities for the Safe Sleep for Baby campaign. This has included full task force meetings, subcommittee meetings and community focus groups. In addition, representatives on the task force from multiple agencies have offered their departmental resources in developing training and technical assistance, as well as media messages and materials. Task force meetings have included multiple presentations, such as successful campaigns across the country, materials utilized by public health departments, research on SIDS and unsafe sleeping, and PowerPoint presentations on infant death scene investigations related to these deaths.

ICAN releases the data it collects on infant deaths related to unsafe sleeping practices in its annual Child Death Review Team Report.

The Safe Sleep for Baby campaign endorses the American Academy of Pediatrics SIDS prevention recommendations from the October 2011 article titled SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

Safe Sleeping Recommendations
from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Back to sleep for every sleep.
Parents and caregivers should always place infants on their backs for naps and at night.

Place babies to sleep on a firm sleep surface.
A crib, bassinet or portable crib/play yard with a firm mattress is recommended. Babies should not be placed to sleep on adult beds because of the risk of entrapment and suffocation. In addition, do not allow babies to sleep on couches, reclining chairs and pillows.

Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep.
Room sharing without bed-sharing is recommended. This arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation and entrapment that might occur when the baby is sleeping in an adult bed.

Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation.
Soft objects, such as pillows, pillow-like toys, blankets and bumper pads, should be kept out of a baby's sleeping environment.

Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
Evidence shows a lower risk of SIDS for babies whose mothers obtain regular prenatal care.

Breastfeeding is recommended, as it is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
Mothers should be careful about breastfeeding in bed or any situation where you may fall asleep with your baby while breastfeeding. Always place the baby back in his or her crib or bassinet once breastfeeding is done.

Consider offering your baby a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
Studies have reported a protective effect that pacifiers provide to babies in relationship to SIDS. The protective effect persists throughout the sleep period, even if the pacifier falls out of the baby's mouth.

Regulate your baby's temperature, never allowing them to get overheated.
Heavy blankets and warm rooms are not recommended for babies as each might lead to the overheating of the baby. The area where the baby sleeps should be well ventilated, at a temperature that is comfortable to a lightly clothed adult.

Infants should have immunizations and regular check-ups.
Evidence suggests that immunizations might have a protective effect against SIDS.

Supervised awake "tummy time" is recommended.
Although babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs for naps and at night, supervised awake "tummy time" is recommended on a daily basis.


Additional Resources

About the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect

The Los Angeles County Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) is the official county agent coordinating the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect. ICAN is nationally known for its multi-agency comprehensive review of child fatalities. Through this review, it has been determined that infant unsafe sleeping is the single leading cause of preventable child death. ICAN Associates is a private, nonprofit organization that works in partnership with ICAN, providing support for direct and indirect services to prevent harm to children. ICAN and ICAN Associates have partnered with First 5 LA to raise awareness about safe sleep for babies to save families from the preventable tragedy of losing an infant due to unsafe sleeping practices. For more information, please visit

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