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Parents Should Share a Room With Their Baby for at Least One Year to Avoid SIDS

Oct 25, 2016 04:22 AM EDT

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines regarding infant care, urging parents to share a room with their baby for at least six months after birth, or more ideally during the baby's first full year.

The new guidelines, published in the journal Pediatrics, emphasize on the importance of sharing a room with babies. However, babies should have his/her own crib or bassinet with firm surface and tight-fitting sheet.

 "We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep," said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, lead author of the report, in a statement. "Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous."

Creating a safe sleeping environment for the infant could reduce the risk sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ill-defined deaths, accidental suffocation and strangulation. The Academy noted that sharing a room with the infant could reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

Furthermore, the cribs or bassinet of the baby should be free from any potential cause of suffocation, such as pillow, blankets and soft toys. Parents are also advised to avoid using soft bedding and crib bumpers. The room where the baby is sleeping should also be free from smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs. The Academy also highlighted the importance of skin-to-skin contact, vaccination and breastfeeding to prevent SIDS.

In the United States, about 3,500 infants die annually due to sleep-related illnesses. Infants aged one to four months are at increase risks of SIDS. However, recent evidences showed that infants aged four months and older are also at risk of SIDS when sleeping in soft bedding.

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