Safe Sleep for Infants
● By Digital Media Director
By: Jarett Bies, Avera Health
The guidelines are pretty clear, yet concern for these little ones makes it worth reviewing them, refreshing our memories, and practicing the proper methods every time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidelines in 2016. Research showed key fundamentals that can help reduce rates of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. The guidelines are commonly known as the “Back to Sleep” program.
“The ‘Back’ in the program’s title actually refers to the proper sleeping position – putting the child on his or her back when it’s bedtime,” said pediatric nurse practitioner Kim Peterson, DNP, Avera Medical Group Marshall.
These guidelines also tell any adults caring for sleeping infants to use firm mattresses in cribs and to keep the sleep areas clear.
“No bumpers, toys or blankets,” Peterson said. “This removes potential choking or entrapment hazards.”
Courtney Blomme, PNP, pediatric provider at Avera Medical Group Marshall, underlined what Peterson said, and added the updated guidelines also advise parents about infant crib location in the home.
“Parents should have the crib or bassinet in their bedroom for babies younger than 12 months,” Blomme said. “The evidence shows this step, combined with a blanket- and toy-free sleeping space, can help reduce SIDS risk by 50 percent.”
Blomme also reminds parents to carefully consider sleepwear for babies. They should wear sleepers or swaddling sacks. These are the safest clothing for them for naps or at bedtime. Peterson and Blomme point to the fact that breastfeeding also reduces overall risk, whether baby receives only breast milk or in combination with formula.
Following these guidelines will ensure a safe sleep environment for your child and a sense of security for parents.