New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics have recently been released regarding infant sleep safety. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended that all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have declined dramatically.
However, sleep related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment, and asphyxia have increased. To address this concern, the AAP has expanding its guidelines on safe sleep for babies and on creating the safest possible environment for babies to sleep in.
The recommendations include:
- Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
- Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
- Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.
- Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommend for routine sleep.
- A baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
- Wedges and positioners should not be used.
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering an infant’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (asymmetric head shape).
Please call us if you have any questions. This information and more can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children web site at www.healthychildren.org/safesleep.