Where should your baby sleep? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their moms for the first 4-6 months (but not in the same bed- room-sharing without bed-sharing).
Your baby should have his/her own sleep space, separate from yours. Use a crib that meets current safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site (www.cpsc.gov/cribs) has the latest information. Make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib. If you cannot afford a crib, call Cribs for Kids (www.cribsforkids.org or 1-888-721-CRIB (2742)) for more information. Sleeping in a bed, on a couch, in a chair, or a recliner with a baby doubles the risk of sleep-related death; it is best to have a firm sleep surface covered by tight fitting crib sheet.
Do not use pillows, bumper pads or heavy blankets. Do not keep soft, loose, or fluffy objects or stuffed toys in your baby’s bed. Do not use wedges or anything to help position your baby. These items can cause babies to get caught or suffocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics says bumper pads in cribs can strangle, suffocate or trap children and there’s no evidence that bumper pads can stop kids from getting hurt. Babies should always be put on their backs to sleep. This even goes for naps.
Tummy time is important for babies to develop normally. Babies should spend time daily on their tummies when they are awake. They should be watched while they are on their tummies. If your baby falls asleep on his/her tummy- turn him/her to his/her back. Babies less than 4 months old may get caught in a position that makes it hard for them to breathe. If your baby falls asleep in a car seat or swing, move him/her to a crib or other safe place as soon as possible.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) means the sudden death of a baby when no cause of death can be found after an autopsy and death investigation is complete. The exact cause of SIDS is not known. SIDS is not caused by vaccinations or vomiting/choking. It is most common in babies between 1 and 4 months old. Some research suggests that there may be problems with the part of the brain that controls breathing. Some babies have a higher risk of dying of SIDS. These include: Premature babies, babies exposed to tobacco smoke and babies exposed to some drugs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided recommendations on a safe sleeping environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS. Three important additions to the recommendations include:
- 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. Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads. Wedges and positioners should not be used.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional flat head.