Most parents are very careful about creating a safe sleep environment for their newborns, but did you know that as many as 20 percent of SIDS cases occur when babies are asleep outside of the home? SIDS is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy  baby less than 1 year old. Although the cause is unknown, doctors say that SIDS may be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant's brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep. In a new study recently published in Pediatrics (the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)), 10 years of baby sleep data was reviewed to learn about cases of SIDS occurring when babies are sleeping away from home. Fifty percent of SIDS cases occur when the baby is under the supervision of caregivers other than parents. This means that parents should have more awareness of Baby's sleep conditions when he's not in his regular crib or bassinette at home. Parents may wish to consider a back-up bassinette or crib for their child, rather than leaving the sleep arrangements to someone else. Further, new recommendation from the AAP is that parents should share a room — but not a bed — with newborns for the first 6 to 12 months of life. Findings show that this reduces SIDS by as much as 50 percent. Other recommendations including offering a pacifier for sleep, staying up-to-date on vaccinations doing away with commercial devices that are marketed to reduce the chance of SIDS in lieu of a bare crib.

CURRENT AAP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CREATING A SAFE SLEEP ENVIRONMENT

    • Place the baby on his back, on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
    • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
    • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
    • Avoid Baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
    • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime
    • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS
    • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations
Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.

THE ABCs of SAFE SLEEP:

A: Make sure the infant is ALONE in his space.

B: Make sure the infant is on his BACK.

C: Make sure the infant is in a CRIB.