The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has updated its recommendations. You can read the full article here – there is nothing really earth-shatteringly different compared with previous guidelines:
1. Put infants to sleep in a supine position, on a firm surface – ie. Not face-down in fluffy pillows.
2. Avoid bed sharing for certain populations: <4 months of age, premmies, SGA infants. I understand the rationale, but the guidelines have got to be really specific in order to promote skin-on-skin and yet avoid bed sharing. Especially as babies sleep on Mum in a prone position, and Mum’s body isn’t ‘firm’ after birth (DAMN YOU PREGNANCY). Sorry, my fingers just typed that on their own.
3. No soft toys or loose bedding in the sleep area. Most over-zealous 1st-time parents fail this one. Especially when Hello Kitty is involved.
4. Offer a dummy/pacifier at nap or bedtime (see my previous post about pacifiers/dummies here). Be prepared to be told that your baby “needs to go to sleep school” to learn to sleep with the pacifier, and (later) that they “need to go to sleep school” so that they can break their unhealthy attachment to the pacifier.
5. Avoid overheating. Most of the babies I used to see in HK = instant fail. Because catching a cold chill is infinitely worse than SIDS.
… And the one that really makes you question why there isn’t a common sense test before conception,
6. Do not cover the baby’s head during sleep.
The media have jumped on these “NEW GUIDELINES!” (peeps, they’re not ‘new’… Or ‘new & improved’ like washing powder… They are ‘updated‘) with headings like:
(What a genius heading – so glad that journalism degree is working for you sweetie.) Not only is this heading ridiculous (er hashtag irony?), there is NO SOLUTION (delicate sobbing).
The Milwaukee Health Department has used a slightly different approach to warn of the dangers of suffocation during co-sleeping resulting in SIDS:
People everywhere had a fit about the ‘over-the-top’ ads. I don’t see a problem with them personally – there’s nothing wrong with getting your sweet baby intruder-ready from an early age.
Anyway, while they get full marks for drrrrrama dahling, they have gotten their definition wires a little crossed with their message (bless):
Technically a suffocation is not SIDS, and if I’m going to be really obsessive-compulsive and poke holes in the accuracy of the advertisement message statistics (hold on while I flip light switches and wash my hands)…
(23 minutes later)… Dang. It’s accurate. In the States in 2014, ~1500 died from SIDS, and ~1,500 died from cutting/stabbing weapons. My bad.
Do you adhere to safe sleeping guidelines?
I haven’t always. It wasn’t an intentional middle finger to the guidelines (#anarchy) but more of a “just trying to survive this new parenting gig” thing – ie. I have most definitely cuddled/fed my babies, and also fallen asleep with them, on a non-SIDS-prevention-approved-sleeping surface, but have never covered their heads in plastic bags and rolled around on them in a crack-induced frenzy.
Bottom line: SIDS ain’t no joke. After congenital issues, it’s the leading cause of death in 0-1 year olds. Read the guidelines. Look after your baby the best you can*
* In your crazed-hormone, sleep-deprivation state…. And remember:
SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Pediatrics.