For the first time since 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its safe infant sleep recommendations. “Back to sleep” – putting infants to sleep on their backs – is still critical, but the AAP also emphasizes the need for infants to sleep on flat, non-inclined surfaces without soft bedding.
Among the AAP’s recommendations to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death:
The baby should sleep on a firm, flat, non-inclined surface that, at a minimum, meets federal safety standards for cribs, bassinets, play yards, and bedside sleepers. Parents should not use products for sleep that are not specifically marketed for sleep. (Has your crib been recalled? Check cpsc.gov/Recalls to make sure.)
Sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers, and infant slings, are not recommended for routine sleep in the hospital or at home, particularly for infants younger than 4 months.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sleep-related infant deaths. While any human milk feeding is more protective than none, two months of at least partial human milk feeding has been shown to significantly lower the risk of sleep-related deaths. The AAP recommends exclusive human milk feeding to 6 months, with continuation of human milk feeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by parent and infant.
The AAP recommends that parents sleep in the same room – but not in the same bed as a baby, preferably for at least the first six months.
Avoid parent and infant exposure to nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and illicit drugs.
Make sure the baby receives routine immunizations.
Pacifier use is associated with reducing risk.
Avoid the use of commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS or other sleep-related deaths. There is no evidence that any of these devices reduce the risk of these deaths. Importantly, the use of products claiming to increase sleep safety may provide a false sense of security and complacency for caregivers. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended. Parents are encouraged to place the infant in tummy time while awake and supervised for short periods of time beginning soon after hospital discharge, increasing incrementally to at least 15 to 30 minutes total daily by 7 weeks of age.
There is no evidence to recommend swaddling as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS. If infants are swaddled, always place them on the back. Weighted swaddles, weighted clothing or weighted objects on or near the baby are not safe and not recommended. When an infant shows signs of attempting to roll (usually at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier), swaddling is no longer appropriate, as it could increase the risk of suffocation.
(Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)
Get more information at healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/a-parents-guide-to-safe-sleep.aspx
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: American Academy of Pediatrics updates recommendations for safe sleep