Updated Policy Stresses “Safe Sleep” for Infant


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently made recommendations ensuring that your new born baby has a safe sleeping environment thereby reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

In 1992, the AAP recommended that all babies be placed on their backs to sleep which decreased the incidence of deaths from SIDS, However, sleep-related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment, and asphyxia, had increased. As a result, 3 important changes have been recommended. First, is the recognition that breastfeeding protects against SIDS. Second, there needs to be a greater emphasis on immunization. If your baby is immunized its risk of SIDS drops by 50%. Third, the AAP wanted to focus not only on SIDS but on other deaths that can occur. They recommend against the cushions that go along the sides of the crib stating that children can be suffocated by them.

Other key recommendations are:

Always use a firm sleep surface.

Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.

The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room sharing without bed sharing).

Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib.

Wedges and positioners should not be used.

Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating. Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk for SIDS. Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

The AAP’s focus is on preventing accidental deaths.In addition to SIDS death many emergency rooms are seeing an increase in the number of babies that have suffocated because someone rolled on them or they have ended up underneath a pillow or got trapped between the mattress and the wall. Many feel the “adult bed” is not a safe place for an infant. These are helpful guidelines to ensure a “safe sleep” for your infant.

Posted in: Let's Talk Women's Health

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