Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sleep Guidelines For Infants

From the Detroit Free Press:

Infants should sleep alone in their own cribs or approved beds in the first year of life, without blankets and stuffed animals, according to new national guidelines likely to have an impact on millions of U.S. households and child care providers.

The guidelines, released today by an American Academy of Pediatrics task force, are an attempt to reduce hundreds of preventable deaths of infants in adult beds and other unsafe sleep environments.

The guidelines will impact generations of future caregivers, as well as gift-givers at baby showers. The better gift now is a portable mesh crib or a sleeper or sleep sack, not a stuffed animal or blanket and never the crib bumpers that have been associated with infant deaths.

In another change likely to stir discussion, the academy recommends that babies should be put to bed with pacifiers, because their use is associated with fewer SIDS deaths, and they don't impair the development of teeth or ability to breast-feed.

Infant safe sleep recommendations include:

•No bed sharing. Infants in the first year of life should sleep in a crib or playpen.

•Infants always should sleep on their backs.

•Use a firm crib mattress, covered by a sheet.

•Keep soft objects and loose bedding such as pillows, comforters and stuffed toys, out of the crib.

•Keep infants away from smoke.

•Offer a pacifier when the infant is laid down for a nap or at bedtime. Don't reinsert it once the infant falls asleep.

•Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The infant should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be warm enough for a lightly clothed adult.

•Avoid devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS, for instance, by maintaining a healthy sleep position. None has been tested sufficiently for safety. There is no evidence that use of home monitors decreases the risk of SIDS.

•Have others caring for the infant follow these recommendations.


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