Doctors Issue New SIDS Prevention Tips
Sudden infant death syndrome, also called SIDS or crib death, is the leading cause of death in babies under the age of one. SIDS is defined as the unexpected death during sleep of a healthy infant 12 months old and younger. According to the CDC, rates of SIDS in the U.S. have decreased since the 1990s, but cases of accidental strangulation or suffocation in infants during sleep have increased. New guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics offer important advice about infant sleep safety.
According to the AAP, infants should be placed on their back on a firm surface—crib or bassinet—to sleep, preferably in the same room as their parents. The surface should have a tight-fitting sheet, and soft bedding and other items—blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, and toys, for example—should not be used. Infants under the age of one should not sleep in the same bed with an adult, as the adult may roll onto the child in sleep, causing suffocation.
Breastfeeding may lower SIDS risk, but the baby should be moved to his or her own sleep space after feeding—before the mother goes to sleep. Other recommendations include offering a pacifier at night or naptime, avoiding the use of devices like wedges or positioners that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS, making sure infants receive all vaccinations on schedule, and preventing exposure to smoke.
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