AAP Updates Safe Sleep Recommendations for Infants

Every year, the nation loses roughly 3,500 babies to sleep-related deaths. 90% of these occur before 6 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continue to study and come out with recommendations on the best practices they know of to prevent these deaths. This October, they updated their recommendations to align with what they have seen in recent studies.

There were very few big changes but one that stood out was their emphasis on not sleeping with the infant on a couch or recliner. Many deaths they see are from the children becoming wedged in between cushions where they cannot escape and suffocate. Although bed sharing is still not recommended, it is safer than a couch or recliner. Especially if pillows and blankets are removed.

The ABC’s of Sleep – Alone, Back and Crib Environment are still as pertinent as ever. One update we saw was the recommendation that the infant should sleep in the same room as the parents, as close to the bed as possible, but in their own space meant for an infant. They recommend doing this until at least 6 months but up to a year if possible.

Finally, they continue to encourage no positioning devices since there is no FDA approved device that prevents SIDS, even if it says it is tested. Although it seems cold, there should be no soft objects or loose bedding in the crib/play yard/bassinet when baby is in it. A sleep sack is the safest option.

Here is the list in it’s entirety:

1. Place infants on their back to sleep (supine) for every sleep period until they are 1 year old. This position does not increase the risk of choking and aspiration.
2. Use a firm sleep surface.
3. Breastfeeding is recommended.
4. Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year, but at least for the first six months.
5. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the infant’s sleep area.
6. Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
7. Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
8. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
9. Avoid overheating and head covering in infants.
10. Pregnant women should obtain regular prenatal care.
11. Infants should be immunized according to the recommended schedule.
12. Avoid using commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations, such as wedges and positioners.
13. Don’t use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce SIDS risk.
14. Supervised tummy time while the infant is awake can help development and minimize positional plagiocephaly.
15. There is no evidence to recommend swaddling to reduce the risk of SIDS.
16. Health care professionals and staff in newborn nurseries and neonatal intensive care units as well as child care providers should endorse and model recommendations to reduce SIDS risk.
17. Media and manufacturers should follow safe sleep guidelines in messaging and advertising.
18. Continue the Safe to Sleep campaign, focusing on ways to further reduce sleep-related deaths.
19. Research and surveillance should continue on all risk factors.
Found at: http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/10/24/SIDS102416

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