Pediatricians update guidelines on infant sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement Monday revealed its new safe sleep recommendations to protect against sleep-related infant deaths.

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Group representatives said infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents — but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface — to reduce the risks of sleep-related deaths.

Furthermore, pediatrician recommendations call for infants to share their parents' bedroom for at least the first six months and, optimally, for the first year of life, based on the latest evidence.

"We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep," Rachel Moon, MD, lead author of the report, said in a statement. "Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous."

Other safe sleep recommendations include:

  • Put the baby on their back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Don't use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months.
  • Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Infants should be administered all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.


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