AAP releases “easier to understand” recommendations to help parents and health professionals prevent SIDS.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for more breastfeeding and immunizations and fewer crib bumper pads in new expanded guidelines to help parents and caregivers prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) announced at its National Conference & Exhibition in Boston and published in the November issue of Pediatrics.
The three most significant additions to AAP’s guidelines are that breastfeeding is recommended, as it is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS; that infants should be immunized because research suggests that immunization cuts the risk of SIDS by 50%; and that bumper pads should not be used in cribs, as they can cause suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment and are not proven to prevent injuries.
“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. “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.”
While deaths related to SIDS have declined dramatically since AAP recommended in 1992 that all babies be placed on their backs to sleep, the association reported that more steps can be taken to ensure the safety of infants. Sleep-related deaths from causes other than SIDS, including suffocation, entrapment, and asphyxia, have increased, AAP said in a news release.
Moon called on “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.” She added, “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.”
Additional recommendations include the following:
Always place infants on their back when sleeping.Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.Let infants sleep in the same room, but not the same bed, as their parents.Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of cribs, including pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.Do not use wedges or positioners.Ensure that pregnant woman receive regular prenatal care.Do not smoke during pregnancy or after birth.Offer infants pacifiers at nap time and bedtime.Do not cover an infant’s head or overheating.Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.Give infants daily supervised, awake “tummy time” facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (i.e., flattened skull).
Information for parents and caregivers is available at www.healthychildren.org/safesleep.