New guidelines: Infants should sleep in same room, separate surface, with parents

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new sleep guidelines for the first time since 2011. (WISH Photo)
The American Academy of Pediatrics released new sleep guidelines for the first time since 2011. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New recommendations says infants should be sleeping in the same room as their parents, but not the same bed, for at least the first six months of their lives. That is one of several big changes the American Academy of Pediatrics is releasing as part of it’s sleep recommendations for infants. It’s the first time the academy has released new guidelines since 2011.

About 3,500 infant lives are lost annually in the United States due to SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, and other sleep-related deaths.

Experts say having babies sleep in the same room with their parents for at least the first six months of life, optimally the first year, could help reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50-percent. By the same room, the doctors are clear to say they do not mean the same surface. Co-sleeping is still considered dangerous in this report. Instead, the recommendation is to have the baby in a crib or bassinet in the same room, without anything else with them. There should not be any pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, or stuffed animals on a sleep surface with a baby.

Also, the academy still recommends babies sleep on their backs.

“Parents don’t want to put babies on their back, because they think the babies are going to choke and we know that that is not true. Babies are actually less likely to choke if they’re on their back,” Dr. Rachel Moon, lead author of the report, said.

The report also warns against napping or nursing babies on soft surfaces like a sofa or cushioned chair.

“Parents, they come home from work or and they want to snuggle with the baby so they lie down on the couch to watch TV or to take a nap with the baby on top of them and they fall asleep that way. That’s actually very, very dangerous and so that’s one of the most new things in terms of SIDS research,” Dr. Moon said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also encourages parents to make sure their babies receive all recommended vaccines and have supervised, awake tummy time every day. The academy said breast-feeding and pacifier use also decreases SIDS risks. The warn against using any sort of wedge or positioning equipment to help babies sleep as well.