New research protects against SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.
Updated 2016 recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) draw on new research regarding sleep-related infant deaths and serve as the first update to the Academy policy since 2011. According to the AAP approximately 3500 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. There was a decrease in the number of infant deaths in the 1990’s following a national safe sleep campaign. This number has plateaued in recent years.
When it comes to sleep related deaths, research shows infants can be kept safer through education and simple precautionary measures related to their sleep environments. Here’s what you can do to create a safe sleeping environment for you infant according to the AAP:
- Place your 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 such as blankets, pillows, soft toys and crib bumpers. Although infants are at heightened risk for SIDS between 0-4 months, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who are 4 months and older.
- Share a bedroom with parent, but not the same sleeping surface at least for the first year of life. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid infant’s exposure to tobacco smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Breastfeed: breastfeeding provides added protection against SIDS. Following feeding move the baby to his or her own sleeping space.
- Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
- Do not use home monitors, commercial devices, wedges or positioners marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Immunize your baby according to recommended AAP schedules.
- Facilitate development with supervised, awake tummy time daily.
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Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics, October 24, 2016. New Safe Sleep Recommendations. Online [available at]: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Safe-Sleep-Recommendations-to-Protect-Against-SIDS.aspx [accessed December 4, 2016].