UVA experts help write new infant sleep recommendations

FILE - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, Keyshla Rivera smiles at her newborn son Jesus as registered nurse Christine Weick demonstrates a baby box before her discharge from Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia on Friday, May 6, 2016. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced new recommendations for safe infant sleeping on Oct. 24, 2016. They call for parents to keep infants in the same bedroom as them at night for six months to a year in order to lessen the risk of sleep-related death. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, Keyshla Rivera smiles at her newborn son Jesus as registered nurse Christine Weick demonstrates a baby box before her discharge from Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia on Friday, May 6, 2016. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced new recommendations for safe infant sleeping on Oct. 24, 2016. They call for parents to keep infants in the same bedroom as them at night for six months to a year in order to lessen the risk of sleep-related death. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP/WAVY) — 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.

Two University of Virginia experts helped draft the new recommendations. UVA Pediatrician Rachel Moon, MD, was the lead author of the new policy statement from the AAP and UVA’s Fern Hauck, MD, MS, was the co-author.

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.

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AAP: http://www.aap.org

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