The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expanded its recommendations for safe sleep of infants by recommending that cribs be cleared of blankets and bumpers. Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, and wedges also should not be placed in the crib with the baby. These items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they cover his face.
The National Resource Center for Health & Safety in Child Care (NRC) has announced policy change to the Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition that was released in June 2011 related to the AAP’s updated safe sleep practices. The change appears in updated versions of Caring for Our Children appearing on the NRC websites.
The AAP recommends:
- Always place babies to sleep on their backs during naps and at nighttime. Because babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to accidentally roll onto their stomach, the side position is not as safe as the back and is not recommended.
- Do not cover the heads of babies with a blanket or overbundle them in clothing and blankets.
- Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
- Place babies in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet. Cradles and bassinets may be used, but choose those that are JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified for safety.
- Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free.
- Do not place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, or cushions.
About one in five sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. Many of these deaths occur when babies who are used to sleeping on their backs at home are then placed to sleep on their tummies by another caregiver. This “unaccustomed tummy sleeping” increases the risk of SIDS. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs and are placed to sleep on their tummies are 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.