Skip to Main Content
1440_405-1116_628-768_432

Avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: The Importance of Safe Sleep


December 07, 2016 Posted in: Family Health , Article

Any parent who's had a new baby knows it takes a while to adjust to life with your tiny new family member. In everything from feeding to sleeping, there's a very real learning curve. Infant sleep is a common source of questions: What's normal? What bad habits should you avoid? And most importantly, how do you make sure your baby is sleeping safely?

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recently released new recommendations for safe infant sleep and how to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These guidelines can help you and your family keep your newborn safe.

New Major Recommendation for Safe Sleep

You probably already know to lay your baby down for sleep on his or her back, but the AAP has outlined some new best practices that can help you feel more confident when you put your infant to bed.

One major update is the recommendation that babies should sleep in their parents' room for the first six months of life -- ideally, for the entire first year. Often, parents keep their babies in their room for the first few months or so, then transition them to a nursery, so this protocol might seem different from what you're used to. Pediatricians don't recommend that babies actually sleep in their parents' bed, of course, but on a separate, flat surface, such as a crib or a bassinet.

Babies should never sleep in an adult's bed or with an adult on a couch, a recliner or another soft surface. Your newborn should sleep alone, in his or her own individual sleeping area. The AAP also recommends keeping stuffed animals and toys out of the sleeping area.

Recap & More Tips

  1. Pediatricians continue to recommend that infants under a year old sleep on their backs -- side sleeping isn't the best choice for newborns.
  2. Babies should sleep in their parents' room for the first six months of life -- ideally, for the entire first year.
  3. Never put your baby in bed with you while you sleep. SIDS is higher in homes where babies co-sleep with their parents.
  4. Babies should be covered only with a sleep sack or swaddle, if anything. Don't cover your newborn with a heavy blanket or add any pillows into their sleeping area.
  5. Breastfeeding is another step you can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that infants who were breastfed were approximately 50 percent less likely to suffer from SIDS than non-breastfed babies.
  6. Smoking, alcohol, and drug use can also increase the risk of SIDS, both during pregnancy and afterwards, so be sure to avoid these behaviors around your child.

If you have further questions about safe sleep for your baby and how to avoid sudden infant death syndrome, be sure to ask your pediatrician or family health care provider.

Breastfeeding for Working Moms: 5 Tips to Guide You

SEP 12, 2022

It's often said that breastfeeding is a full-time job. And in those first few weeks of motherhood, when it feels like you're feeding constantly, it certainly can be. But what happens a few months later when you have to go back to work?

Read More Additional information about Dignity Health | How to Make Breastfeeding for Working Moms Easy

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

SEP 12, 2022

It's important to remember that vitamins and supplements cannot take the place of a healthy diet. For example, pregnant women should eat multiple servings of fresh green vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Higher doses of certain vitami...

Read More Additional information about Dignity Health | *

How to Know When a Child Injury Requires Medical Attention

SEP 11, 2022

Scrapes, bumps, and bruises from outdoor play are a child's rite of passage, but sometimes a fall or a tumble results in a more serious injury. For many parents, the problem is to know when a twisted ankle is just a minor sprain or something worse — ...

Read More Additional information about Dignity Health | How to Know When a Child Injury Requires Medical Attention