An estimated 3,500 infants die in the United States each year from sleep-related deaths. On Oct. 24, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new safe sleep recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep-related infant death. AAP and CDPHE recommend that infants sleep in the same room as their caregivers for at least the first six months and, ideally, for the first year of an infant's life. The AAP reports that sharing a room decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Room-sharing is part of creating a safe sleep environment. Babies should sleep on their backs in a bare crib on a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet, but no blankets, bumper, stuffed animals or pillows. Babies should always sleep alone in their cribs, never with other children, pets or adults on an adult bed, couch or chair.
Breastfeeding, using a pacifier at nap time and bedtime, receiving recommended vaccinations, and supervised, awake tummy time can all help protect against SIDS and sleep-related death. Additionally, the AAP recommends avoiding babies' exposure to smoke, alcohol and other illicit drugs.