Changing Colors: The Blog of Spectrum Pediatrics

March 13, 2017

New Sleep Guidelines: What are they?

By Tracy Magee, MEd, CCC-SLP

In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP released new recommendations regarding safe sleep for babies up to 1 year of age. Here are some of the suggested guidelines:

1. Remember your “ABCs”:

  • A is for Alone. The baby should sleep alone in a crib or bassinet.
  • B is for Back. The baby should always be put to sleep on his/her back.
  • C is for Crib. The baby should always sleep in an uncluttered crib (no loose blankets, no bumpers, etc.).

2. Sleeping Environments:

  • Research shows that it is safest for a child to sleep in his/her parents’ room. The guidelines recommend at least 6 months to a year. It is suggested that sleeping in a bassinet or co-sleeper (and not in the parents’ bed) is safest.
  • A baby should never sleep on a couch, as the cushions are not firm enough to keep the baby safe. The baby can easily fall or get wedged in between the cushions.
  • Make sure the child is sleeping on a firm surface/mattress.

3. Other ways to keep your baby safe during sleep:

  • Using a pacifier during naptimes and bedtimes
  • Keeping a fan on in the room during naptimes and bedtimes
  • Limiting baby’s exposure to secondhand smoke and adults that have been using drugs or alcohol

One of the newest developments with these guidelines is that fact that the AAP recognized that many parents could be so exhausted that they might fall asleep when feeding their baby. The organization suggests that the parent should sit on his/her bed with no loose bedding if they feel there is a chance that they may fall asleep. This is the safest location for the child if this scenario were to happen. Of course, as soon as the parent wakes, the baby should be placed in a crib or bassinet.

At Spectrum Pediatrics, we recognize that the choices about where your child sleeps are very personal to your family. Please take these recommendations when speaking with your pediatrician. Together, the doctor and your family can determine what is the best sleep setting for your specific child!

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