The new sleep guidelines emphasize children sleeping on their backs, a firm sleeping surface, breastfeeding, and room-sharing among others.
According to statistics, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is the number one cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
A campaign for safe sleeping has been launched in New York City
The campaign, called “Stay Close. Sleep Apart.” has been providing awareness about the dangers of SIDS as well as what parents can do about it. It coincides with the new sleep guidelines that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released.
“Stay Close. Sleep Apart.” aims to not only provide education, but also provide assistance to families by providing cribs as well as health services to families. They’re also working with community-based organizations in order to spread awareness regarding SIDS and what parents can do about it.
Room-sharing is important
The new sleep guidelines emphasize children sleeping on their backs, a firm sleeping surface, breastfeeding, and room-sharing among others. They also focused on the importance of having regular prenatal checkups for mothers.
They add that immunization is also an important factor that can drastically reduce the chances that a baby will die from SIDS. Knowing what can cause SIDS and how to avoid them can drastically decrease the risk that your baby will die from SIDS.
What are their recommendations?
Here are a few of the recommendations that the AAP provided:
- Babies should always sleep on their backs. Sleeping on their backs reduces the risk of choking in infants. They add that side-sleeping is potentially unsafe and that they do not advise it.
- Their sleeping surface should be firm, not too soft or too hard. A firm mattress covered by a fitted shit is the best sleeping surface for your baby. Additionally, you should avoid putting toys or any pillows in their crib to avoid any accidental choking.
- Make sure to breastfeed your child. As always, breastfeeding is very important. It helps keep your baby healthy and provides them with all the vitamins and nutrients that they’ll need as they grow. The AAP adds that the positive effects of breastfeeding dramatically increase if you exclusively breastfeed.
- Share a room, but not sleep beside your baby. Room-sharing can reduce the chances of SIDS by up to 50%, and this can also prevent suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment that might occur if the baby sleeps in their parent’s bed.
- Use pacifiers during nap time or bedtime. While they’re still unclear on the reason why pacifiers lower the risk of SIDS, research does show that using pacifiers does lower the chance that a baby will die from SIDS. That’s why it’s important to give your child a pacifier every time they sleep. This not only reduces the risk of SIDS, but it also makes them sleep better.
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs. Studies show that the babies of parents who smoke or drink alcohol have a higher chance of dying from SIDS. This is why the AAP recommends that if you smoke or drink, it’s best to stop it during your baby’s first year or to quit entirely. The use of illegal drugs also increases the chances of SIDS.
- Know the dangers of overheating in infants. Studies have shown that the risk of SIDS can increase with overheating. That’s why it’s very important to make sure that your child is always dressed appropriately for the weather.
- Make sure to get regular prenatal care. Regular prenatal care not only reduces the chance of SIDS, but it also helps you track your unborn child’s health.
You can read the updated AAP guidelines here.
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