SAN ANTONIO – The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new recommendations to reduce the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths.
A couch or sofa is one of the most dangerous places for a baby to sleep. Babies can become trapped between cushions or underneath a sleeping adult who accidentally rolls over on them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is emphasizing the dangers of soft bedding for young babies in its new sleep safety guidelines. The experts say “room sharing” can reduce the risk of SIDS by half, and now recommend babies sleep in a crib or bassinet in the parent’s bedroom for at least the first six months and up to age 1.
Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ill-defined deaths; and accidental suffocation and strangulation. The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years.
AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
- Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Skin-to-skin care is recommended, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake, according to the report.