The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently announced new safe sleep recommendations to help protect against sleep-related infant deaths. Sudden death of an infant less that 1-year of age that cannot be explained, even after a thorough investigation, is referred to as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The cause of SIDS is still unknown. We do know that SIDS is not choking, apnea or suffocation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States there are about 3,500 sudden unexpected infant deaths. SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants 1 to 12 months.
The AAP recommends infants share a room with their parents for at least the first six months and, if possible, for the first year of life. By sharing a bedroom with parents, the risk of SIDS is reduced by as much as 50 percent. Parents should never sleep with their infant in their bed, as the risk of injury, including death, can occur if the parent rolls on top of the infant while asleep or if the infant falls off of the bed.
To create a safe sleeping environment, the AAP recommendations include:
- 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.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
It’s also recommended to breastfeed your baby to add protection against SIDS. While feeding your child, one may become very sleepy. If there is the slightest chance you might call asleep, feed your baby on the bed, rather than a sofa, and place your baby back in the bassinet or crib before allowing yourself to fall asleep.
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