BOSTON – Since the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommended all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep in
1992, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have declined
dramatically. But sleep-related deaths from other causes, including
suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, have increased.
In an updated policy statement and technical report, the AAP is
expanding its guidelines on safe sleep for babies, with additional
information for parents on creating a safe environment for their babies
“We have tried to make it easier for parents and providers to
understand the recommendations by providing specific answers to common
questions,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP SIDS task force
and lead author of the new guidelines. “As a health care community, we
need to do a better job translating what the research identifies as
‘best practices’ into the day-to-day practice of caring for infants in
both the hospital and home environment.”
The policy statement, “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,”
and an accompanying technical report, will be released Tuesday, Oct.
18, at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston and
published in the November 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online
Dr Moon will discuss the new recommendations during an embargoed
news briefing for reporters at 11 a.m. ET Monday, Oct. 17, at the Boston
Convention & Exhibition Center. During the news briefing, a crib
with objects such as crib bumpers, baby blankets, pillows and toys will
be set up for Dr. Moon to demonstrate safe vs. unsafe sleep practices.
The policy statement and technical report provide
global recommendations for education and safety related to SIDS risk
reduction. In addition, the AAP is providing recommendations on a safe
sleeping environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related
infant deaths, including SIDS. Three important additions to the
- Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
- Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
- Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence
that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of
suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
“It is important for health care professionals, staff in newborn
nurseries and neonatal intensive care units, and child care providers to
endorse the recommended ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other
sleep-related deaths, starting at birth,” Dr. Moon said.
“There needs to be more education for health care providers and trainees
on how to prevent suffocation deaths and to reduce SIDS and other
sleep-related infant deaths – our goal is to ultimately eliminate these
The report also includes the following recommendations:
Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
Wedges and positioners should not be used.
Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
Breastfeeding is recommended.
Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to
facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional
plagiocephaly (flat heads).
Parent information will be available at www.healthychildren.org/safesleep starting Oct. 18.
Reporters attending the news briefing should first check in at
the press room (151A) at the Boston Convention Center. For a copy of the
policy statement or technical report or to interview one of the
authors, contact the AAP Department of Communications.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000
primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and
pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well
being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more
information, visit www.aap.org.