In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all infants be placed on their backs to sleep. Since that time, death from SIDS have decreased dramatically, but other sleep-related deaths have increased.
Last month, the AAP released expanded Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction. Three additions to the guidelines are:
- 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.
The additional recommendations are:
- Place the infant on his or her back for every sleep time.
- Use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
- Do not use wedges or positioners.
- The infant should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).
- Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
- Women should not smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
All child care providers must follow these guidelines and help educate the parents of the children in their care on these guidelines.