List of safe sleep recommendations for infants gets an update
Infants should sleep on their backs on flat surfaces without soft bedding, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
The recommendation is part of a recently published policy statement on reducing infant deaths in the sleep environment.
The AAP also discourages families from sharing a bed with a child up to a year old. The statement represents the academy’s first update to safe infant sleep recommendations since 2016.
About 3,500 infants die each year in the United States from various sleep-related causes, such as sudden infant death syndrome, the AAP says. The risks of sleep-related infant deaths are up to 67 times greater when sleeping on a couch or soft armchair or cushion, and 10 times higher when sleeping with someone who is impaired because of fatigue, medications, alcohol or drugs, or is a smoker.
Other recommendations from the AAP:
- For at least the first six months, babies should sleep in the parents’ room close to their bed but on a separate surface designed for infants.
- Offer infants a pacifier at naptime and bedtime to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Keep soft objects (examples: pillows, toys, quilts, comforters and loose bedding) away from an infant’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, strangulation and entrapment/wedging.
- Have supervised tummy time while the infant is awake to assist in development and minimize the potential for positional plagiocephaly, a condition in which an infant’s head develops an abnormally flattened shape or appearance.