Sleep-related infant deaths have been declining nationwide, but due to the continued risk of death the American Academy of Pediatrics released updated guidelines this week to help parents create a safe sleep environment for their babies. The updated recommendations are to breastfeed, immunize and get rid of bumper pads.
AAP first recommended babies be put to sleep on their backs in 1992. These latest recommendations were released Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston and published in the November 2011 issue of Pediatrics.
Recommendations to breastfeed and immunize are the first two changes the AAP made. Both are associated with a reduction in the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, including evidence that shows immunizations can reduce the risk up to 50 percent.
The third recommendation covers a topic that has been the target of several local governments: bumper pads. The AAP said they should not be used in cribs because there is no evidence that they prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
The Chicago city government banned the sale of bumper pads within city limits in September. Maryland is considering a similar ban.