New Information on SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
Announced October 24th 2016:
This announcement is based on new research and is the first time the AAP has updated its policy since 2011.
The new recommendation:
Recommendations call for infants to share their parents’ bedroom for at least the first six months and, optimally, for the first year of life, based on the latest evidence.
These recommendations came out of new evidence supporting skin-to-skin contact and care for the newborn. Regardless of how the baby was delivered or if a mother chooses breastfeeding, the importance of skin-to-skin contact is essential for the newborn’s first experiences with the mother or caregiver.
The surface we put infants to sleep on is still the primary consideration. Although the report focuses on several factors that may decrease crib deaths in infants, the first issue remains the safety of the sleeping environment as quoted here by one of the lead authors of the report, Rachel Moon, MD.
We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep. Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous.
The following safety precautions of the report remain the same:
- 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.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.
My take on yesterday’s announcement can be seen on Denver’s Channel 7 news clip below and I will be exploring this topic further in a series of blog posts.
My ongoing goal is to offer parents more information about the larger context of sleep. For more details on the sleeping environment please refer to my book:
Here is the deal: If you are reading this blog you are a highly engaged and concerned parent. Therefore, much of this report may not apply to you.
Although these are mostly good guidelines and have decreased infant mortality significantly over the last 30 years, they do not all apply to every family.
My skill is in helping parents navigate these general guidelines to more specific recommendations that serve the sleep and well being of the individual child and every member of the family.
Does this report apply to you and your family? Read More!