(NBC News) The “Back to Sleep” campaign for infant sleep safety was successful leading to a decline in sleep-related infant deaths back in the 90’s. But the decline has plateaued.
About 3,500 babies still die during their sleep each year in the U.S.
The American Academy of Pediatrics just released new recommendations to reduce the risk for SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths.
One of the most dangerous places for a baby to sleep is on a couch or sofa.
“If I had to choose one place where I would never want a baby to sleep, it would be on a couch or a sofa,” said Dr. Rachel Moon of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
That’s because babies can become trapped between cushions or underneath a sleeping adult who accidentally rolls over on them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is emphasizing the dangers of soft bedding for young babies in its new sleep safety guidelines.
The experts say “room-sharing” can reduce the risk of SIDS by half and now recommend babies sleep in a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom for at least the first 6 months and up to age 1.
The only thing that should be in the baby bed is the baby.
For the first time the A.A.P’s safe infant sleep guidelines include a recommendation for skin-to-skin contact just after birth.
“We know skin to skin helps encourage breastfeeding, and breastfeeding is protective against sleep-related death,” said Dr. Moon.
After mom and baby get into a good breastfeeding routine the experts recommend giving babies pacifiers while they sleep.
They too have been shown to reduce the risk for sleep-related deaths.
Avoiding smoking, alcohol and drug use around babies can also lower the risk for SIDS.