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AAP updates sleep recommendations to protect against SIDS

By Ryan Maass
Infants should be placed on their back for sleeping, AAP researchers say. Photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock
Infants should be placed on their back for sleeping, AAP researchers say. Photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Infants should sleep in the same room as their parents, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' updated safety precautions to protect against sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

AAP will release their policy update at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. A research paper is scheduled to be published in the November 2016 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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The paper recommends new parents have their infants sleep in the same room as they do for at least six months, though on a separate surface such as a crib or basket, and never on a couch, armchair or any other soft surface. AAP officials say these recommendations sharply reduce the risk of SIDS.

"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," lead researcher Rachel Mood said in a press release. "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."

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The safety update includes guidelines for how to best put an infant down to sleep, and calls for the young children to be placed firmly on their back. Researchers add parents should avoid adding pillows, blankets and soft toys. They also identified breastfeeding as a safety precaution.

"We want to share this information in a way that doesn't scare parents but helps to explain the real risks posed by an unsafe sleep environment," Moon added. "We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures."

SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 1 year old, and kills approximately 3,500 children per year in the United States alone. While researchers concede little is known about the phenomenon, the risks can be greatly reduced.

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