Infants should sleep on their backs

Putting babies to sleep on their backs on a firm crib mattress in the same room as their parents is among the recommendations on a list of safe sleep guidelines for infants.

The American Academy of Paediatrics first said in 1992 that infants should be placed in a non-prone position for sleeping to curb sudden infant deaths.

The latest report recommends infants sleep wholly on their backs for every sleep, noting that side sleeping is unsafe. Some supervised awake-time spent on the tummy is recommended.

A series of 18 recommendations from the academy are intended to help guide parents, health care providers and others who care for infants, following an increase in sleep-related deaths over the last few years.

Safe sleep environment

The expanded recommendations focus broadly on creating a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, the report said.

The guidelines also recommend that soft objects and loose bedding like quilts, pillows and even bumper pads not be kept in cribs.

Infants should not regularly have routine sleep time in sitting devices like car seats and strollers and should not sleep in a bed where they might suffocate, according to the guidelines.

The recommendations, geared to infants up to one year old, emphasise the importance of regular prenatal care for pregnant women and encourage smoke-free environments for pregnant women and children.

(Reuters Health, October 2011)

Read more:

Infant and child mortality

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