Put Him "Back to Sleep"
You should always lay your baby down to sleep on his back, even when he naps. (Until 2005, the AAP recommended either the back or the side, but babies who were put down on their side often rolled onto their tummy; young babies can't roll over from their back.) Some parents resist because they fear flathead syndrome, but that's largely preventable. Just give your baby plenty of tummy time during waking hours, and alternate the direction you turn his face when you put him to sleep on his back. Others worry that babies on their back could more easily choke if they vomit. This is a myth, Dr. Hauck insists: Infants will automatically swallow or cough up any fluids.
Some doctors still recommend putting babies to sleep on their stomach in certain cases because it might help with reflux or gas, but this practice may be dangerous, as Karen Garni, of Westport, Connecticut, discovered. When using medication, changing formulas, and elevating the head of the crib mattress didn't stop her 2-month-old son, Spencer, from screaming all night, Garni asked her doctor for additional suggestions. "He said that even though it was a SIDS risk, putting him on his abdomen would help him -- and us -- get the sleep we needed," she recalls. It worked, and for the next two months Spencer slept much better. But then one night Karen went to check on him and found that he was blue. "I immediately called 911, and the EMTs tried to revive him, but he was already gone," she says.