These guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) help to prevent sudden infant death syndrome and other problems associated with infant sleep. According to the AAP, approximately 3,500 infants die from SIDS and other sleep-related issues every year. Fortunately, just a few, simple steps can drastically reduce this risk and ensure your baby is sleeping safe and sound.
Three Steps for Safer Sleep: Recommendations from the AAP
Step One: Keep your baby’s crib in your bedroom, and close to your bed
The AAP recommends that your baby sleep in the same room but on a separate surface from parents for the first 6 months. It’s important to avoid sharing a bed, as this can increase the risk of suffocation or the baby getting caught up in blankets or pillows. According to the AAP, this step alone can reduce the risk of SIDS by half.
Step Two: Keep the crib clear of toys, pillows, and stuffed animals
While stuffed animals, pillows and other comfort objects can bring happiness to a child, it’s important to keep these things away from the crib or sleep surface. The more items in a crib, the greater the chance for suffocation or other complications. If you need to use a toy to help your baby lay down and become calm before sleep, that’s fine! Simply ensure that the toy has been removed from the crib when your baby does finally rest.
Step Three: Make sure your baby is in an age-appropriate sleep position
Children under the age of one should always sleep on their backs, according to AAP. “Side sleeping” is not advised because of the chance for the baby to roll onto its stomach during sleep, increasing the risk of obstructed airways. If your baby doesn’t like sleeping on their backs at first, don’t worry, they will adjust over time as you continue to reinforce the proper, safe sleeping position.
For how long should I worry about safe sleep?
According to the National Institute of Health, 90% of all SIDS death occur before a baby is 6 months old. However, the risks of SIDS can remain until the baby’s first birthday, so we recommend that all parents follow all safe-sleep guidelines until your baby turns one. As always, if you have specific questions about your child’s development, be sure to run them by your pediatrician.
For more information and resources on safe sleep, visit the National Institute of Health’s “Safe to Sleep” campaign. You can also learn more about “Safe Sound Sleep” by checking out SafeSoundBabies.com.