Pediatricians Release New Guidance For Preventing Sudden Infant Deaths

For at least the first six months of a child's life - ideally, up to age 1 - infants and parents should be sharing the same room, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The reasons behind the protective effect are not fully understood. It also recommends placing sleeping babes on their backs and on a firm surface, without pillows, crib bumpers, or soft toys, with a tight-fitted sheet. In fact, the AAP announced that evidence shows that parents and babies sharing a room can reduce the risk of SIDS up to 50 percent. A new report says it's much safer for a baby to sleep alone on a crib with no pillows or blankets.

'Bed-sharing is potentially hazardous for SIDS, and this is most important for infants under four months of age and those who were premature or low birth weight, ' Feldman-Winter added by email.

Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in private practice in Kansas City, Mo., says that most of the parents she sees move babies to their own rooms after a few months, but she will recommend sharing a room for longer.

Also noted is how breastfeeding can reduce risk of SIDS by 70 percent, but with the caveat that parents should be careful not to fall asleep when feeding their baby on an armchair.

Lead author Dr. Rachel Moon said she recognizes new parents may be overwhelmed, so simple guidance is needed.

"If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed", she said. But as one pediatrician said, "If this will save lives, we are all for it". But they say that if you're likely to nod off during a feeding, you should put the baby in the safest place you can.

Around 3,500 sleep-related deaths, including SIDS are reported in the United States every year.

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A new study by the journal Pediatrics has uncovered a surprising finding about babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) each year: 20% of SIDS cases occur when the baby is outside the home.

But Shu stresses the need for parents to understand the importance of a separate sleeping surface.

The AAP have issued new safe sleep guidelines with the aim of protecting against SIDS.

"These recommendations are evidence-based and should guide parents and other caregivers in the best way to keep babies safe", said Heere, a leader in Temple's SAFE-T Program that provides families with "baby boxes" as safe sleeping spaces. "There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause overheating", she said.

As part of the new guidelines, experts acknowledge that exhausted parents sometimes fall asleep while feeding their babies and that parents should set a plan to prevent potentially deadly dangers.

Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.

'Parents often assume that when other people take care of their infant, they also know about infant sleep safety.

"We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures", Moon said.

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