Infant Safety

Mother and father kissing their infant child.

Learn more about infant safety and programs to assist infants and their caring adults. 

Infant Safety

Life with a new baby is a special time for parents, siblings and other family members.  While caring for a newborn is rewarding, it can also be hectic and exhausting.   
Tips on caring for a newborn 


Safe sleep – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3,600 babies die unexpectedly, usually while sleeping or in their sleep area.  This is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)*. The risk of SIDS can be reduced by putting babies on their back to sleep, removing soft toys and heavy blankets from the sleep area, using a firm mattress and not smoking in the presence of the child. 

Wake County offers a number of programs to help support newborns and the individuals caring for them. For more information, go to Wake County Maternal & Child Health.


(*) US CDC (reviewed: April 29, 2020). Content source: Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion -, accessed 8/10/20. 

Protecting Infants

If an infant is unsafe, has been harmed, or whose prenatal exposure to substances negatively impacts his/her health, Wake County Child Welfare is responsible for assessing the safety of the infant and referring the family for supportive services. 

Plan of Safe Care

As part of new federal legislation, states are required to create rules requiring hospitals to notify child protective services and for developing a supportive plan for families whose newborn infants are born affected to substances, including illegal drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol.  In NC, families are referred to Care Coordination for Children who link them to services that will help the mother, the child and the rest of the family.  Services may include referrals to food assistance, health care and substance abuse treatment. 

Safe Surrender

Babies up to seven days old may be left legally with a responsible adult under NC’s Safe Surrender Law.  

If the mother does not want to give identifying information, she does not need to do so. See Information for Women in Crisis

What Happens When My Family is Reported

If your family was reported to Child Protective Services, then you may receive a phone call from a social worker to set an in-person interview with you, your household members, and your children or, depending on how severe the abuse is, a visit from a social worker.  During an in-person visit, you will be asked for the names and contact information of other persons who may have information about your children.  The social worker may need to review medical or other records and may request medical assessments be completed.  

Your assigned social worker will work with you to complete the assessment and ensure you have a written response of the decision.  If services are needed to assure child safety, the social worker will involve you and the people you identify to support you in decision making and work to help the child stay safely at home whenever possible.  

More information about What Happens When My Family is Reported

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have questions about child protective services or child safety?   

Frequently Asked Questions