New Guidance for SIDS Prevention

Sudden infant death syndrome prevention recommendations released by American Academy of Pediatrics

(RxWiki News) There's some new guidance on how to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

These new sleeping recommendations were recently announced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Based on the latest evidence, the Academy recommends that infants share their parents’ bedroom. The risk of SIDS can be decreased by as much as 50 percent with room sharing, according to the AAP.

To create a safe sleep environment, the AAP recommends the following:

  • Lay the baby on his or her back on a firm surface. This may include a bassinet or crib.
  • Avoid the use of soft bedding, such as blankets, crib bumpers, pillows and plush toys.
  • Always keep the crib bare.
  • Allow the infant to share your bedroom with you for at least for the first six months. This is preferred for the baby's first year of life, the AAP notes. Note: This does not mean sharing the same sleeping surface.
  • Do not allow your baby to be exposed to alcohol, smoke or illicit drugs.

Other recommendations include skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding.

The AAP recommends skin-to-skin care regardless of how the baby will be fed or how the baby was delivered. According to the AAP's report, skin-to-skin care is also recommended immediately following birth and should be done for at least an hour — as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake.

Breastfeeding can add protection against SIDS, according to the AAP. Parents should place the baby in his or her bassinet or crib in the parents’ bedroom after feeding, according to the report.

An estimated 3,500 infant deaths occur in the United States as a result of sleep-related deaths like SIDS each year.

“If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” said Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a member of a task force on SIDS and co-author of the AAP report, in a press release. "If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed.”

The report also lists the following recommendations:

  • Offer the baby a pacifier at bedtime and nap time.
  • Do not use monitors or devices that are marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. These include home monitors or commercial devices like positioners or wedges. 
  • Make sure the baby receives all the recommended vaccinations.
  • Allow the baby to have supervised, awake tummy time. This will help with the baby's development. 

The AAP will present its updated policy during the National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco, California.