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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual




Child Protection & Permanency

Effective Date: 7-16-2018



Special Interest Topics



Safe Sleep

Revised Date: 7-16-2018



Safe Sleep



Safe Sleep





This issuance establishes policy and procedures to ensure that children under the age of two (2) have a safe sleeping environment. 




A)   CP&P Principles Related to Safe Sleep


CP&P is committed to the following principles as they pertain to safe infant sleep practice:


·         Infants should always be placed face up to sleep, unless directed otherwise by a physician.

·         Co-sleeping or bed sharing between adults and infants, without safety measures or equipment approved for that purpose, is inherently dangerous and cannot be condoned.

·         Soft materials and blankets in a crib or other infant sleep environment create an avoidable risk to infant life and safety.


B)   Ensure Appropriate and Safe Sleeping Environment for Infants 


When evaluating the safety of any home setting for a child under 12 months of age, Workers shall always ensure that the home has an appropriate and safe crib or other sleeping environment, such as a baby box, or bassinet.


C)   Ensure Appropriate and Safe Sleeping Environment for Toddlers


To ensure children under 24 months have an appropriate crib or other sleeping environment, such as a baby box, or bassinet, where aggravating risk factors are present in a child’s home.   


D)   Inquire About Safe Sleeping Environment at Screening

When calls to the State Central Registry (SCR) allege or indicate potentially unsafe care being provided to an infant, SCR shall specifically ask and document that the infant has an appropriate and safe sleeping environment.




1)    Discussing Safe Sleep with Parents


When concerns are raised about inappropriate or unsafe sleep practices, Workers will have a verbal conversation with parents, guardians, and caretakers about safe sleeping for infants.  Educational materials and pamphlets shall be provided.


Workers will identify the presence of aggravating risk factors to determine if a child under 12 or 24 months has an appropriate sleeping environment. 

Workers must document all safe sleeping conversations and materials provided in NJ SPIRIT, along with documentation of aggravating risk factors.


2)    Provision of Sleep Equipment


If parent, guardian, or caregiver in a CPS case is unable to obtain an appropriate crib, baby box, or other appropriate sleeping environment and requests one, it is the responsibility of the Worker to assist the family in accessing one.


Key Terms (Definitions):


·         “Aggravating factors” refers to the frequent use of alcohol or illicit drugs by the parents, guardians, or caretakers of a child, which creates or allows a substantial or ongoing risk of serious physical injury or death to such child beyond accidental means.

·         “Appropriate crib” refers to any non-drop-side crib. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of drop-side cribs in December 2010 due to safety concerns.


Related Information:


Additional information regarding safe sleep is available on the following websites and toll-free numbers:


·         American Academy of Pediatrics – Safe Sleep  


·         Consumer Product Safety Commission – drop side cribs


·         DCF Brochure: “Safe Sleep for Infants”

·         DCF Website: “Safe Sleep for Infants”

·         Family Helpline: 1-800-The-Kids


·         National institute of Child Health & Human Development “Back to Sleep” Campaign: 1-800-505-CRIB

·         Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

·         Safe Sleep for Babies - Rutgers Researchers Now Have an App for That

·         Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Center of New Jersey: 1-800-545-7437


Policy History:


·         Initial issuance of CPP-VIII-G-1-100, Safe Sleep, issued on 7-16-2018.