Why Can’t Babies Sleep On Their Stomachs?

It is not recommended for babies to sleep on their stomachs.

This position can cause a number of problems, which we will discuss further in this article.

It is important to note that putting your baby to sleep on their stomachs is incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

The best position to put your baby to sleep in is the back position.

This way, you are providing a safe environment for your little one to sleep in, that will help reduce any risks.

The Danger Of Babies Sleeping On Their Stomach

Babies are born with the ability to sleep on their stomachs and some may prefer to, but it is not recommended for them to do so.

There are many reasons why babies should be sleeping on their backs and not their tummies.

Here we will discuss some of those reasons.

The Risk Of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

SIDS is a condition that occurs when an infant dies suddenly without any apparent cause or reason.

It can happen at any time during infancy. In fact, it may even occur in older children and adults.

Although there are no known causes of SIDS, some experts believe that SIDS is caused by suffocation due to lying down on the stomach.

This is because the airway is blocked while the baby sleeps on his/her front.

SIDS affects about 1 out of every 1000 infants worldwide.

If a baby is sleeping on their stomach, he/she has a higher chance of getting SIDS than if they were sleeping on their back.

For this reason, parents should always put their babies to bed on their backs and regularly check up on them to ensure they haven't rolled over in their sleep.

Increased Risk Of Crib Death

Another reason why babies should never sleep on their stomachs is that it increases the risk of crib death.

Crib death is the leading cause of sudden unexpected deaths among infants under one-year-old.

It happens when the child stops breathing and dies unexpectedly.

Some studies have shown that the risk of crib death is increased when a baby is sleeping on his/her stomach.

Experts say that this is because the baby's head is lower than his/her body and thus gravity pulls the neck downwards causing the airways to become obstructed.

The Risk Of Suffocation

If a baby is sleeping on his/her stomach, there is a greater chance of him/her choking on something such as food, saliva, vomit, etc.

This could lead to suffocation and death.

A baby who is asleep on his/her stomach also has a higher chance of rolling over onto his/her face which could result in suffocation.

The Risk Of Strangulation

The Risk Of Strangulation

Strangulation happens when something compresses the neck, causing strangulation.

This usually happens when a child is sleeping on their tummy.

When this happens, the airways become compressed, which makes breathing difficult. This could lead to death.

Why Can't Babies Sleep On Their Stomach?

Babies are not born with the ability to be able to roll themselves or turn over from positions.

If a baby falls asleep on their tummy, they will be facing down.

Babies will struggle to turn their heads to a position where they can breathe easily.

They will then have difficulty turning over into a position where they can breathe more easily and end up suffocating.

There are many more reasons why babies shouldn’t sleep on their tummies. These include:

They Have A Higher Chance Of Getting SIDS

As discussed above, if a baby is sleeping on her/his tummy, she/he has a higher chance of dying from SIDS.

They Have A Higher Chance Of Choking

If a baby is asleep on his/hers tummy, there is a greater possibility of him/her choking.

He/She could choke on anything like food, saliva, vomit, or other objects.

This could lead to serious complications and even death.

They Are More Likely To Roll Over Onto Their Face

When a baby is asleep on her/his tummy, he/she has more chances of rolling over onto his face.

Because of the position of their head, a baby's nose might be blocking his/her mouth.

This would make it hard for him/her to breathe properly. This could result in suffocation and death.

It is not recommended that babies of any age sleep on their stomachs because of the increased risk of death that it creates.

When Can Babies Start Sleeping On Their Stomach?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies start sleeping on their backs after their 1st birthday (12 months old).

This is because, by this age, they should be able to move and turn over.

Although your baby can sleep in any position after this age, you should still be laying them down in their cribs on their backs.

Alongside this, you should still be taking other precautions, such as keeping the crib free of any loose blankets or toys, to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Back-sleeping is the best recommendation for safe sleeping and your baby should continue to sleep on their back until they are at least 12 months of age.

Alongside this, it is important to keep all bedding away from the edge of the mattress so that it does not catch on clothing or bedding.


Sleeping on the tummy is not recommended for babies.

There are many risks associated with it including suffocation and choking.

It is important that parents follow the recommendations set out by the American Academy of Pediatrics in order to ensure the safety of their children.

Additionally, you should always check your baby's position before putting them down to sleep.

You should also keep your baby's room free of any loose bedding or toys so that they do not get trapped under these items and suffocate.

There are many ways that you can ensure your child's safety when putting them down to sleep, but one thing is certain – never put your baby to sleep on their tummy!