Learn about the updated safe sleep guidelines

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their guidelines to assist parents and child care givers in keeping infants safe during sleep time.

Few news is sadder than the death of an infant. Unfortunately, 3,500 infants die from Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) every year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SUID is the death of an infant less than 1 year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious before investigation. Most of these occurrences are attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed the following guidelines to assist parents and child care givers in keeping infants safe during sleep time:

  • Infants should always be placed on their backs on a firm sleep surface with a tight fitting sheet.
  • Cribs or bassinets should be bare. Do not use crib bumpers, soft toys, pillows or blankets.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS by 50 percent, parents and infants should share the same room, but not the same bed, until the infant is 1 years old.
  • Do not expose the infant to smoke, alcohol or illicit drugs.
  • It is acceptable to provide a pacifier at the infant’s sleep time.
  • There is no substitute for physically checking on a sleeping infant. Do not use monitors or other devices, including wedges and positioners, that are sold as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Make sure the baby receives all recommended vaccinations and keep them up-to-date.
  • Make tummy time a priority. Place infants on their stomachs while they are awake. This will help strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles and facilitate the development of certain motor skills. Infants should not be left alone during tummy time and should be under constant supervision.

In 2016, the AAP updated their guidelines from 2011. Parents and caregivers know the 2011 Safe Sleep guidelines, but are encouraged to follow the current instructions.

For more on information caregiving or family issues that affect you, visit the eXtension and Michigan State University Extension websites.

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