In its first update to their safe sleep recommendations since 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging parents to make sure babies sleep on a flat – not inclined – surface. They are also encouraging room sharing, but strongly discouraging bedsharing. The changes are aimed at reducing all sleep-related infant deaths, including additional ways to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
What are the updated safe sleep recommendations?
Here are some of the most important takeaways related to creating a safe sleep environment for your baby. These safe sleep recommendations apply for babies up to the age of one year.
- Babies should sleep on their backs on a flat, non-inclined surface.
- There should be no soft bedding, pillows, toys, etc. in the sleeping area.
- Popular products, such as home cardiorespiratory monitors, are not recommended as a strategy to prevent SIDS.
- Sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers, and infant slings, are not recommended for routine sleep in the hospital or at home, particularly for infants younger than four months.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sleep-related infant deaths. Any amount of breastfeeding is protective, but at least two months has shown to significantly lower the risk.
- Parents and babies should sleep in the same room – not in the same bed – preferably for at least the first six months.
- Pacifier use is associated with reducing risk.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended to facilitate infant development.
- If infants are swaddled, always place them on the back. When an infant exhibits signs of attempting to roll (which usually occurs at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier), swaddling is no longer appropriate.
- Weighted swaddles, weighted clothing, or other weighted objects on or near the baby are not safe and not recommended.
- The new federal Safe Sleep for Babies Act will help get rid of potentially dangerous baby sleep products such as inclined sleepers, in-bed sleepers, loungers, and travel/compact sleepers by mid-2022.
Find more details on the updated safe sleep recommendations in the AAP policy statement, “Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment.” The statement is accompanied by a technical report that provides the evidence base for updated recommendations, which apply to children up to 1 year old.