New Recommendations For Preventing SIDs From The American Academy Of Pediatrics May Help Save A Life

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs) is the mysterious and often unexplained death of a baby (typically less than a year old), often in its sleep. In fact, SIDS is also commonly called "crib death." It's been five years since the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first set of recommendations for how parents can best avoid SIDS; but an updated version with new recommendations for preventing SIDS will be published in Pediatrics in November, and they include one perhaps surprising addition: Sharing a room with your baby.

Ideally, the baby sleeps in the room with the parents for six months, although it's best if it's for a full year. Doing so can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50 percent. While you should share a room, you should not share a bed. Sharing a bed can actually increase the risk of SIDS, because there are more soft surfaces that can impair the baby's ability to breathe properly and block their airway. Babies belong on their own surface: A firm one with a tightly fitted sheet, and on their backs — the position in which they are best able to breathe. Eliminate soft bedding (including bumpers and pillows) and soft toys. Babies should never sleep on any kind of couch or cushioned chair, even with an adult.

Additional recommendations include skin-to-skin contact for at least an hour right after birth, regardless of how you feed your baby (although doctors say that breastfeeding can decrease the risk of SIDs by 70 percent). Also, you should offer your baby a pacifier for naps and encourage tummy time when they're awake — always supervised, of course.

While SIDS is the biggest cause of death for babies one month to one year old, the number of babies who have died form SIDS has decreased sharply since 1990, from 130 deaths for every 100,000 births, to 38.7 deaths for every 100,000 births as of 2014. While some of the causes of SIDS are not so easily preventable (brain abnormalities, low birth weight, respiratory infection), ensuring that you've given your baby the proper sleeping environment could make all the difference in the world.

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