The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new report — SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment — containing an updated list of nineteen safe sleep recommendations to help prevent infant deaths. The AAP’s report covers a broad range of recommendations — from routine immunization to the importance of skin-to-skin contact. Some of the guidelines are familiar – put babies on their backs to sleep, and avoid alcohol and drug use during pregnancy and after birth. Other guidelines, however, were updated warnings about lesser-known dangers. These included the recommendations that all soft bedding should be kept away from the sleeping environment, and that couches and armchairs are not safe sleep spaces
KID has long been an advocate for bare sleep environments. Even though soft pillows, stuffed animals, and other bedding items can look cute and cozy, the fact is that #BareIsBest. Pillows, comforters, and other bedding items can cover an infant’s nose and mouth and obstruct their breathing. These items increase the risk of suffocation, entrapment, and SIDS. Instead, the AAP suggests using infant wearable blankets to keep babies comfortable during sleep.
Crib bumper pads also fall under the category of dangerous soft objects in cribs. They present suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation hazards for infants and should not be placed in a crib under any circumstances. In fact, a meeting called by US CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler just this week highlighted those dangers with statements from the AAP, KID, and others. Read KID’s statement here.
The AAP report also warns against using “commercial devices [that] are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations.” Often, products such as wedges and sleep positioners are marketed with claims that they reduce the risk of SIDS. In fact, there is no evidence to support these claims. These products can actually increase the risk of suffocation and strangulation. The only way to be sure your infant is safe is to follow the evidence-backed safe sleep practices outlined in the AAP report.
For the full list of safe sleep recommendations, visit the AAP.