Creating a Safe Sleep Environment and Reducing the Risk of SIDS
Placing babies to sleep in unsafe conditions is a leading cause of infant suffocation deaths in New York City and also contributes to deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Most of these deaths take place when the infant is between 1 and 4 months of age and many can be prevented by always placing a baby in a safe sleep environment.
To prevent infant suffocation deaths and reduce the risk of death from SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics* has recommended the following to parents and other infant caregivers:
- Always place a baby to sleep on his or her back.
- Babies should sleep alone in a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Use a firm crib mattress specifically designed for the equipment used and a tightly fitting sheet flush with the sides of the crib/bassinet.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: no pillows, stuffed toys, blankets, or baby bumpers.
- Never put a baby to sleep on an adult bed, bouncy seat, infant swing, car safety seat, sofa, futon, waterbed, sheepskin, or other soft mattress—not even for a nap.
- Remove bibs, necklaces, and clothing with ties or hoods before putting an infant to sleep in a crib or bassinet.
- Babies should never share a bed with adults, children, other infants, or family pets.
- Do not use commercial devices such as wedges, positioners, special mattresses marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Babies can be offered a pacifier when being placed to sleep; for breastfed infants, pacifier use should be delayed until breastfeeding is firmly established, usually by 3-4 weeks of age.
- Avoid overheating the baby; generally, infants should be dressed in no more than one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable at a particular temperature.
- Avoid smoke exposure, alcohol and illicit drug use.
- Room-sharing with the baby without bed-sharing is considered protective against SIDS.
*Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Moon RY. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):1030-9.
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