During periods of light sleep, transitioning to deep sleep, she'll turn to the side, then onto her stomach, and sleep face down. To avoid SID, I turn her back, but then she turns again onto stomach. This can go on for 10+ times per night.

Should I just leave her to sleep face down? She has no ability to turn onto her back once face down.

  • Why can't she turn onto her back? Most infants learn front-to-back turns before back-to-front.
    – Catija
    Mar 9 '17 at 22:29

SIDS is statistically likely in younger babies (90% of cases before 6 months). The risk of SIDS is incredibly low.*

There are some actions you can take to further decrease the risk. These actions make sense because they are very simple things to do (no soft mattress she can "drown" in, put her in her bed on her back, no objects she can cover herself with in her bed, such as blankets** or toys, etc).

These actions should be are taken because they are zero effort and they decrease an already almost zero risk even further. Because they are zero effort, it would be negligent to not do these.

Trying to somehow restrain or turn back a baby that starts turning in her sleep is far from zero effort, and has downsides as well, for near negligible upsides. Babys survive sleeping on their stomachs all the time. I've been told I did.

*The risk of a baby drowning before she's 4 is higher than the risk of SIDS. The risk of the child dying before reaching 20 years of age is about 20 times higher than the risk of the child dying specifically due to SIDS (source).

**Use a baby sleeping bag instead of a blanket.

P.S: You said she sleeps face down. I assume this means the face is to the side so she can breathe. If this isn't the case I suggest you contact your doctor. Putting the head in a position where she can breathe is a natural reflex that should work from day one.

  • Use a baby sleeping bag instead. This is what we use. I provided an answer on a different question (showing images) and these sleeping bags are the best thing for us. He just doesn't move and even though he's starting to roll over when awake the sleeping bag does create a very good buffer.
    – Bugs
    Mar 17 '17 at 12:57

The danger of belly sleeping is that while the kids are still too young to turn themselves over, they can suffocate either by rebreathing the deoxygenated stagnant air around them (result of their own breathing) or accidentally suffocate on the bedclothes.

Once they can turn themselves over, if they are uncomfortable they will do so, so the danger is over. I was a belly sleeper, and my kids were both belly sleepers.

  • Does that mean until they can turn themselves over, everytime they turn onto their stomach during sleep we should turn them back, even if it means they will do it 50 times throughout the night and effectively you'd need to watch them every minute.
    – user26433
    Mar 10 '17 at 16:35
  • I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, so my advice on the matter carries only the weight of my own experience. Prior to the 1990's, it was believed that belly sleeping was safest because it minimized the chance of choking should the baby spit up. Since our population steadily increased and infant mortality remained low. Infants were more likely to die from traffic accidents than SIDS (even before car seats). Ergo, the risk of belly sleeping is very low.
    – pojo-guy
    Mar 10 '17 at 19:49

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