Listen up, parents: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is expanding its advice about safe sleep for your baby and here’s what you’ve got to know:
Since the AAP launched the Back to Sleep campaign in 1992, directing parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have declined.
The newly revised guidelines (the last updates were in 2005), comes at a time when sleep-related deaths, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, are increasing. So, this time around, the AAP is addressing specific steps you can take to make your baby’s sleep environment safer.
“We have tried to make it easier for parents and providers to understand the recommendations by providing specific answers to common questions,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP SIDS task force and lead author of the new guidelines. ”
In 2005, the AAP stopped short of banning bumpers altogether and instead told parents to only use bumpers that were “not pillowlike,” meaning thin, firm and well-secured. And that’s because the evidence was just not there that bumpers caused infant deaths, Dr. Moon, said.
Since that time, new evidence, as well 27 several bumper-related deaths, have shown that bumpers can indeed impede the air exchange in a crib, putting a baby in harm’s way. In half of those deaths, in babies from 1 month old to 2 years, infants suffocated when they became wedged between the bumper pad and the crib, the others were sadly strangled by the bumper’s ties.
The new recommendations also mean that babies should not have loose bedding, blankets, toys, stuffed animals or any other items around them in their cribs, and that they should always be put to sleep on their backs in a cool room.
In making their recommendations, the pediatricians group also advised that you and your caregivers should: