Update on Sleep Position Recommendations in Infancy

In the past twenty years landmark research has demonstrated the importance of back sleep position to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). More recent data has shown not only an improvement but a plateauing of SIDS cases. However there has been an alarming 4x increase in accidental sleep related deaths including; suffocation, asphyxia and entrapment due primarily to infants falling asleep in the parents bed. The updated recommendations include the following:

  1. Infants be placed back to sleep for all sleeping
  2. Always have infants sleep on a firm surface
  3. Room share but don’t bed share
  4. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib
  5. Avoid smoke exposure-for all family members*
  6. Consider using a pacifier, research has shown that pacifiers serve a protective effect with reducing SIDS
  7. Avoid overheating, it’s hard to provide specific guidelines for this since homes and heat sources vary, but don’t keep the room temperature elevated for the baby’s sake (ideally room temps should be < 70 degrees). Or provide an extra layer of clothing (but not extra bedding) for the baby.

Proper sleep position is important for our infant’s well being and SIDS prevention. It may seem that holding your baby in bed enhances bonding and protection but safe practices for your baby start as soon as you get home from the hospital. There is a right time and right place for everything!

*Smoke exposure has also been shown to increase respiratory illnesses in children in addition to its well documented association with cancer.

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