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).