With fireworks, family festivities, and fun filling our past weekend, it is likely that many parents are now struggling to get their kids back into a regular rhythm when it comes to their sleep schedules. However, despite the struggles that arise after any holiday, it is extremely important to continue to follow safe sleep guidelines. For the first time in six years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated these recommendations. Here is what parents need to know.

Co-Sleeping is NOT Safe

Photo by Isaac Del Toro on Unsplash

Their number one piece of advice -- sleep in the same room with your infant, but not in the same bed. In fact, their report states that "the risks of sleep-related infant deaths are up to 67 times higher when sleeping with someone on a couch or soft armchair or cushion; and 10 times higher when sleeping with someone who is impaired because of fatigue or use of sedating medications or substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs; or is a smoker."

Inclined Surfaces are NOT Safe

Fisher Price
Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Moreover, inclined surfaces are also a big concern. Many parents choose to use mattress wedges, baby loungers, and rockers to help infants who suffer from colic and acid reflux to get a bit of shut eye. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that anything more than a 10% incline also poses a risk to your child's safety. These types of products have actually been tied to almost 100 deaths.

Most notably, they report that while these products are readily available on the market and are tied to big names like Fisher Price, none have actually been tested for safe infant sleep. It is extremely important for parents to remember that just because a product is available for purchase, does not mean that it has been safety tested in any way.

Monitoring Devices Have Also Not Been Safety Tested

Credit: Owlet Baby Care, Inc.

Home cardiorespiratory monitors like the Owlet Sock are not recommended by the AAP either. The AAP's update specifically dictates that "there is no evidence that any of these devices reduce the risk of these [SIDS] deaths. Importantly, the use of products claiming to increase sleep safety may provide a false sense of security and complacency for caregivers."

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration actually sent out a warning letter to this company in October of last year, noting that they market themselves as a safety device "without marketing approval, clearance, or authorization from FDA." These products make parents believe that they can safely monitor their children from afar, but the AAP holds firm with their recommendation that you should room share for the first six months of life.

Best Advice to Parents For Safe Sleep

Safe Sleep
Photo by Igordoon Primus on Unsplash

In order to ensure the safest sleep for children under the age of six months, it is best to always lay your infant on a hard, flat surface. The space should be bare. This means no decor, stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, or crib bumpers. Less is more when it comes to infant sleep. Additionally, pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS and so has the use of ceiling fans. Breastfeeding is also recommended.

While Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cannot be fully prevented, these are proven methods for lessening the threat of this devastating condition. Over the next week, try not to pull your hair out getting your little ones back on a good sleep schedule. Just be patient and make sure to follow these recommendations.

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