Doctors Say Babies Should Sleep In Parents' Room For First Year

New guidelines suggest that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for at least six months to reduce the risk of SIDS

A new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised parents to sleep in the same room—but not the same bed—as their baby for at least the first six months of their lives and ideally the first year. 

The new guidelines suggest that this could reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by as much as 50 per cent. 

Prior to this amendment, the guidelines stated that babies should sleep on their backs, on a clean surface free of toys and blankets. But now they have been updated to ensure that babies are within clear view of their parents to enable safer monitoring.

While it's fine for babies to be brought to bed for feeding, they should not sleep in their mother's bed for the rest of the night.  

SIDS currently claims the lives of 3,500 infants each year in the United States—a figure the AAP will be hoping the new guidelines can vastly reduce. The causes of SIDS range from accidental suffocation to strangulation. 

Between 1992 and 2001, the rate of sudden infant death was reduced by 53 per cent after experts urged parents to put babies on their backs instead of their bellies. 

SIDS is the leading killer of babies aged one month to one year, and at the greatest risk between one and four months. 

According to Pete Richel, chief of the department of pediatrics in Westchester, this may go against longstanding wisdom passed down to parents. 

"Many pediatricians will suggest that by two months of age, infants go to their own room, and with the use of a monitor so that you can hear them cry out for a feeding," said Richel.

"This really goes against that kind of usual advice, which is fine, because if it saves lives we are all for it."

 

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