New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state that infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents but on a separate surface to reduce the risk of sleep-related death.
The AAP’s new policy statement, “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment” is based on new research and marks the first update since its 2011 policy. It specifies that infants should sleep in a crib or bassinet and never on an armchair, couch, or soft surface. The policy calls for infants to share the same bedroom as their parents for at least the first 6 months and ideally for the first year of life.
New evidence, as published in Pediatrics, supports skin-to-skin care for newborn infants. The research includes use of bedside and in-bed sleepers, and provides recommendations on how to create a safe sleep environment. Some recommendations 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%.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Skin-to-skin care is recommended immediately after birth for at least 1 hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake. Also, breastfeeding is recommended as added protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but after feeding, the Academy encourages parents to move the baby to a separate sleeping space in the parents’ bedroom.
Soft bedding continues to demonstrate hazards to babies who are 4 months and older, with the risk of SIDS still higher for infants between 1-4 months. Additional recommendations include offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime, not using home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS, receiving all recommended vaccinations, and having daily supervised, awake tummy time to facilitate development.
For more information visit AAP.org.