As a new parent, infant sleep is often one of the most discussed topics. Sleepless nights are almost like a right of passage! While we all want to get our rest (does anyone actually get to sleep while baby does?), it’s really important to understand how to create a safe sleep environment for your little one.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “more than 3,500 babies in the U.S. die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping, often due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental deaths from suffocation or strangulation.” The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has leveled off in recent years.
The latest report, “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws on new research and serves as the first update to Academy policy since 2011.
So what can you do to keep your baby sleeping safely? Check out the following recommendations from the AAP below, and remember to talk to your baby’s healthcare provider if you have any questions about these recommendations or sleep safety.
AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
- Place your baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Baby should share the bedroom with their parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Breastfeed. Breastfed babies have lower risk of SIDS.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
To see the AAP’s full guidelines for parents, head over to their site.