The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for infants to be kept in their parents' bedroom at night for six months to a year to reduce the risk of sleep-related death.
The new recommendations say babies should sleep on a separate surface, in a crib or bassinet, and never on something soft. The guidelines say babies should sleep in the same room as their parents, preferably until they're a year old. The nation's most influential pediatricians' group says it updated its safe-sleep guidance because of studies suggesting that room-sharing reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by as much as 50 percent.
For two decades, the academy has advocated that babies be placed on their backs for sleeping to reduce risks of SIDS. Other recommendations include: avoiding bed-sharing; use of crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys; using pacifiers; and breastfeeding. But SIDS cases have plateaued at 3,500 unexplained deaths each year in the U.S., prompting the updated advice released Monday.
Noting that SIDS' risks are highest in the first six months, the academy says room-sharing but not bed-sharing is most likely to prevent suffocation that can occur when infants sleep with their parents.
"Placing the crib close to the parents' bed so that the infant is within view and reach can facilitate feeding, comforting, and monitoring of the infant," the academy says.