New Sleep Suggestions Aim to Reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

November 7, 2016

Sleep is top of mind for new parents, even when they are getting so little of it. As recommendations for prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) change, Mercy Kids pediatricians want to make sure you stay up to date.

With its first policy update since 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics has new recommendations when it comes to infant sleep. 

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 taut 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.

According to the AAP, approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths including SIDS, ill-defined deaths and accidental suffocation and strangulation. While infants are at heightened risk for SIDS between ages 1 and 4 months, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who ar e4 months and older. 

Other recommendations include:

  • 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.

Mercy Kids Dr. Ryia Ross-Peterson discusses the American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines of room sharing for infants.

Media Contacts

Bethany Pope
St. Louis, St. Charles
Page: (314) 251-6000