First Candle Launches Safe Sleep Guardian Campaign

First Candle safe sleep guardian

Five Companies Earn the Designation by Committing to Only Showing Babies in a Safe Sleep Environment


September 12, 2018, New Canaan, Conn. — First Candle, the national non-profit organization committed to ending Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths, announced today the launch of the Safe Sleep Guardian program, designed to urge bloggers, photographers, media and advertisers to only show babies in safe sleep environments.

Every year more than 3,500 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths.  Many of these can be prevented simply by following the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

First Candle safe sleep guardianThis includes placing baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or fluffy bumpers.  Unfortunately, many images of babies in ads and on social media depict them in life-threatening settings that include lying on sheep skins, on their stomachs and with stuffed animals and blankets in the crib.

Alison Jacobson, chief executive officer of First Candle, explains that photographing babies in this way sends a dangerous message to parents and caregivers that this is safe.

“Instagram, Facebook and company ads are filled with images of adorable babies sleeping in different settings and gorgeous nurseries set up with blankets, quilts and stuffed animals and that get thousands of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. New parents often don’t realize that this is potentially deadly,” she said.  “And even if they’re just being posed to get the perfect picture, it’s sending the wrong message.”

The goal of the Safe Sleep Guardian program is to create a new norm for these pictures.

“We need to create a new normal of what a beautiful nursery and cute sleeping baby picture looks like and we need the help of bloggers, photographers, advertisers and even nursery designers,” she said.

When a company or individual commits to only showing babies in a safe sleep environment, it is permitted to display First Candle’s Safe Sleep Guardian badge and promote its association with the organization on its social media sites.

Five companies have already earned the Safe Sleep Guardian Badge:

The Boppy Company: “We are grateful for the ongoing work that First Candle does to educate new and expectant parents on the importance of providing a safe sleep environment for their baby,” says Nancy Bartley, chief executive officer. “As a long-time brand partner with First Candle, we are honored that Boppy is an inaugural recipient of First Candle’s Safe Sleep Guardian badge.  We are committed to continue to only show photos of babies in safe sleep environments.”

Baby Merlin Company“Our most important mission as parents at Baby Merlin Company is keeping babies safe,” said Maureen Howard, president. “We take great care to educate our customers in the use of the Magic Sleepsuit within the safe sleep guidelines.  It is very important to us to make sure our customers know that whether they are using the Magic Sleepsuit or any other sleep product, the most important thing they can do for their baby is to follow the ABCs of sleep, and all safe sleep recommendations.  We are pleased to be partnering with First Candle as part of the Safe Sleep Guardian Program to do our part to share only images of babies in safe sleep environments.”

Regal Lager: “We are honored to receive First Candle’s Safe Sleep Guardian badge and to partner with them in spreading the word about safe sleep,” said Luanne Lager, co-owner, vice president and chief financial officer. “Babies are the future and every child sleeping safely is a child growing up to make dreams come true.”

Gugu Guru: “The proliferation of stylized images on social media channels like Instagram has come with a multitude of unsafe sleep images, said Monica Banks, founder. “With influence, comes responsibility. It’s time for influencers and bloggers to take accountability for the images they share on social media – especially when babies’ lives are at risk. I applaud First Candle for putting these guidelines into place.”

Twiniversity : “The Safe Sleep Guardian program will make a HUGE difference in how safe sleep is perceived by consumers,” said Natalie Diaz, founder. “Whether it’s a first-time mom or a grandma to five, the photos that we use sends a message to these caregivers about what is safe in a crib and what is not, and we want to make that message crystal clear.”

About First Candle: First Candle, based in New Canaan, Connecticut, is a 501c (3) committed to eliminating, through education and research, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths including accidental suffocation. It also provides bereavement support for families who have lost a child due to SIDS, sleep-related infant deaths, stillbirth and miscarriage.  SIDS remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age.