AAP issues new guidelines for safe infant sleeping

I know it seems everyday the news is telling you something different when it comes to keeping your kids and babies safe. However, it’s all for good reason. There’s always the off chance that you could be in that 1 percent category where something could go wrong. Just last week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new safe sleep guidelines for infants to prevent against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia. The guidelines haven’t been updated since a policy statement on SIDS in 2005.

The new recommendations to be published in the November 2011 issue of the Pediatrics (currently available online), include the following:

  • Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. 
  • Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.

In addition, the following recommendations from the AAP have been updated to include:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time. 
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.  
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing). 
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads. 
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used. 
  • Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care. 
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth. 
  • Breastfeeding is recommended. 
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. 
  • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating. 
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. 
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.  
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads). 
The AAP says it’s trying to make it easier for parents by being very specific about the guidelines, including the use of NO crib bumpers — including the mesh bumpers which were offered as an alternative to the “pillow-like” bumpers that we regularly see on store shelves. It’s very confusing to be out shopping and see an adorable crib set for sale…bumper and all…and to be told not to use it. Companies are now getting hip and smart to the new guidelines are now offering no-bumper alternatives that offer just as much style but with the safety of your infant in mind as well.
Just last month at the ABC show, Skip Hop debuted its new “Complete Sheet” and it will hit retail shelves in early December for consumers to purchase. The new, patent-pending Complete Sheet features a bold pattern around the mattress sides of the sheet acting as a “border” and then is off-set by a coordinating pattern on the top of the sheet covering the top of the mattress. It’s a great alternative to the traditional bumper as it offers style and safety all in one. Also, it’s going to be available in Skip Hop’s signature patterns including Alphabet Zoo, Elephant Parade, Mod Dots and Treetop Friends. The 4-piece set will retail for $120 and separates will be available starting at $24-$30.
Since Baby #3 is due any day now, I for one couldn’t be happier about this new option as I was left feeling defeated between style and safety. Now I can have both! What do you think of the new guidelines? Will you forgo the crib bumper as recommended?