October is Safe Sleep Awareness month so it's a great time to share safe sleep guidelines. You may hear the phrase "safe sleep" frequently but what does it really mean? Safe sleep refers to recommendations shared in a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics in an effort to reduce the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These recommendations apply to children under the age of 1. Here are the most updated guidelines:
Babies should sleep on their backs
Up until the age of 1, babies should be placed to sleep on their back for all naps and nighttime sleep. During the first year of their life, babies will learn to roll onto the tummy. It is okay to let your child roll after you put them in bed, just make sure their sleep space is free of blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or crib bumpers.
Babies should sleep on a firm surface
A crib, bassinet or play yard with a firm mattress is the best place for your baby to sleep. Look for a sleep space that meets the safety standards put forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These products are designed for sleep and are considered "safe." The mattress should be covered with a fitted sheet, with no other items in the sleep space.
Room share with baby
It is recommended that you room share with your baby for the first six months of their life, ideally the first year of their life. The AAP has found that room sharing can decrease the incidence of SIDS by 50%.
Do not bed share with baby
Bed sharing is not recommended for any babies according to the AAP, but it's considered especially dangerous in these situations:
- Baby is under 4 months
- Baby was premature
- A person is the bed is a smoker
- You have been drinking or using medicine or drugs that may make you drowsy
- The surface is soft
Swaddles and pacifiers are safe
It is safe to swaddle your baby as long as they are not rolling. Just make sure the swaddle is away from their face and not too tight in the hips. Pacifiers can reduce the incidence of SIDS, so it is considered safe for your child to sleep with one. Some babies do not like pacifiers and that's okay too.
Beware of "false advertising"
No specific product has been proven to reduce the incidence of SIDS, so use caution when considering these products. Heart rate and breathing monitors can offer some comfort, but do not rely on them to prevent SIDS.
These are the recommendations provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Consult your physician if you have questions or concerns about these guidelines.
Stay tuned for next week's blog post about how to practice safe sleep when some of the recommendations don't fit with your lifestyle.