Infants should sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months of their life to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to new pediatrics guidelines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAS) on Monday announced new sleep recommendations, drawing from and updating a 2011 policy, calling for parents to sleep with their newborns in the same room preferably until the child turns one — but not in the same bed. It also recommends placing sleeping babes on their backs and on a firm surface, without pillows, crib bumpers, or soft toys, with a tight-fitted sheet.
“Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous” Rachel Moon, the lead author of the new guidelines and professor of pediatrics at University of Virginia School of Medicine, said in a statement.
It also acknowledges that parents may fall asleep while nursing their infants, but urged that they plan for it. “If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” Lori Feldman-Winter, co-author of the guidelines and member of the Task Force on SIDS, said.
According to the CDC, around 3,500 infants die in the U.S. each year from cot deaths, accidental suffocation or through unknown causes.