Though sudden infant death syndrome and counseling is mainly in the realm of general pediatrics, subspecialists need to be familiar with the latest AAP recommendations as well.
A summary from NPR: Pediatricians Release New Guidance for Preventing Sudden Infant Deaths
Children should sleep in the same room but on a separate surface from their parents for at least the first six months of their lives, and ideally the first year. They say that this can halve the risk of SIDS…
You can read the AAP’s full guidance here. These are a few more of the pediatricians’ recommendations:
- Infants under a year old should always sleep lying on their backs. Side sleeping “is not safe and is not advised,” the AAP says.
- Infants should always sleep on a firm surface covered by only a flat sheet. That’s because soft mattresses “could create a pocket … and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone position.”
- Any other bedding or soft objects, like pillows or stuffed animals, could obstruct a child’s airway and increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation, according to the AAP.
- The pediatricians say breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS.
- The same goes for pacifiers at nap time and bedtime, although the doctors say the “mechanism is yet unclear.” They add that “the protective effect is observed even if the pacifier falls out of the infant’s mouth.”
- Smoking – both during pregnancy and around the infant after birth – can increase the risk of SIDS. Alcohol and illicit drugs during pregnancy can also contribute to SIDS, and “parental alcohol and/or illicit drug use in combination with bed-sharing places the infant at particularly high risk of SIDS,” the pediatricians say.