Sleep with baby but not in the same bed

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

TO RE­DUCE the risk of sud­den death, ba­bies should sleep in the same room as their par­ents, but in their own crib or bassinet for the first year of life, US doc­tors said.

The new pol­icy state­ment by the Amer­i­can Academy of Pae­di­atrics still says ba­bies should sleep on their backs, on a clean sur­face free of toys and blan­kets, a guide­line that has been in place since the 1990s and has re­duced sud­den in­fant deaths by about 50%.

Still, some 3,500 in­fants die each year in the United States from sleep-re­lated deaths, in­clud­ing sud­den in­fant death syn­drome (SIDS) and ac­ci­den­tal suf­fo­ca­tion and strangulation.

The main change to the AAP guide­lines, which were last is­sued in 2011, is the spe­cific call for in­fants to stay in their par­ents’ room for six months to a year if pos­si­ble – but not sleep in the same bed.

“Par­ents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cush­ioned chair, ei­ther alone or sleep­ing with an­other per­son,” said lead author Rachel Moon. “We know that these sur­faces are ex­tremely haz­ardous.”

Ex­perts say that urg­ing par­ents to put ba­bies to sleep on their backs in­stead of their bel­lies helped drive down the rate of sud­den in­fant death. That ad­vice still stands.

Deaths from SIDS have plateaued in re­cent years, but it is still the lead­ing killer of ba­bies aged one month to one year. The high­est risk pe­riod for SIDS comes be­tween the ages one to four months. But SIDS is rare in ba­bies older than eight months.

Chil­dren may be­come en­tan­gled in bed­ding, or suf­fo­cate un­der bumpers or toys, get squeezed in the cor­ner of a couch or arm­chair, get over­heated, or sim­ply stop breath­ing for no ap­par­ent rea­son.

“It is noth­ing but tragic,” said Peter Richel, chief of the depart­ment of pae­di­atrics at North­ern Westch­ester Hos­pi­tal, who re­mem­bers los­ing two pa­tients in the past 26 years to sud­den in­fant death – a four-month-old boy and a two-week-old girl.

Other risk fac­tors for SIDS in­clude smok­ing in the home, and ex­pos­ing ba­bies to drugs or al­co­hol.

The AAP pol­icy also sug­gests plac­ing new­borns skin-to-skin with the mother “im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is med­i­cally sta­ble and awake”.

Breast­feed­ing is rec­om­mended, but moth­ers are urged to move the baby to a sep­a­rate sleep­ing space af­ter­ward.

Other strate­gies in­clude of­fer­ing a paci­fier at nap time and bed­time, and mak­ing sure in­fants get all their rec­om­mended vac­cines. – The In­de­pen­dent

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