A baby playing (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants sleep in their parents’ room for the first year does not mean they should sleep together in the same bed, Atid, the research association for preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), said on Wednesday.
Dr. Anat Schatz, chairman of the organization, said if tired parents put their infants to sleep in their bed, they could roll over them and suffocate or crush them to death. The infants should be in their parents room but in a separate crib, she said.
The AAP stated in a recent article in the journal Pediatrics that infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents for at least the first six months of their lives (and ideally for the first year) to minimize the risk of sleep-related deaths. The best place for infants to sleep is on a firm surface such as a crib or bassinet without any pillows, soft bedding or crib bumpers, the AAP said.
Sleeping in the same room – but not in the same bed – may reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%, said Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, coauthor of the guidelines and a pediatrics researcher at Rowan University in New Jersey.
Being in the same room can also encourage mothers to breastfeed, which can also help prevent SIDS. The primary ways to prevent SIDS is always to put the baby to sleep on its back and never on its stomach or side; use a hard mattress that doesn’t allow sinking; never smoke in the baby’s vicinity; and to dress them in light layers and not allow them to be too warm.
An Atid survey from 2005 found that over 11% of Israeli parents slept with their newborns in the same bed.