Chances are if you have a new little one in your home, you are receiving lots of advice from family and friends on just about everything and I would bet that even includes your baby’s sleep practices. As a mom myself, I was privy to various advice including my mom’s approaches, as she raised six kids. Now, as a pediatrician – I find myself as part of this group, offering my patients advice on important topics such as sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just recently updated their recommendations regarding evidence-based safe sleep practices. This has been an accumulation of over five years of research and data. I would strongly consider reviewing them and putting them into practice. Sadly, there continues to be a number of sudden infant deaths (SIDS) that are unexplained or due to strangulation. The AAP is constantly looking at new data to help further decrease those numbers as was done with the “back to sleep” campaign or the “safe to sleep” campaign starting in 1994. This implementation dropped the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 60%.
Here is my “top five” summary of the newest suggestions on safe sleep practices for your infant:
1. A baby should always be placed on their back to sleep; not on their side or their stomach.
2. Babies should be placed on a firm, flat, new mattress that fits snuggly into the crib. There should not be anything placed in the crib with your little one such as a pillow, blankets or stuffed animals or toys.
3. Keep the room cool, well ventilated, and even consider a fan. Studies show keeping babies cool also decreases the incidence of SIDS.
4. Do not co-sleep with your infant due to the risk of smothering.
5. No smoking around or near your infant. Second and third hand smoke also places your infant at risk for SIDS.
The entire AAP policy statement (How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained) with a plethora of great information can be found at healthychildren.org
Of course, discuss any questions you might have regarding their policy statement with your trusted health care provider. They welcome any and all of your questions.
Dr. Kristin Struble is a pediatrician at Camelback Pediatrics and has been practicing since 2001. She earned her undergraduate nutrition science and medical school degrees from the University of Arizona. She is married to Steve Chakmakian, DO and has one child, Luke. In her free time, she enjoys, hiking, cooking and family time.