American Academy of Pediatrics Releases New Safe Sleep Guidelines for First Time in Five Years

A few popular products are no longer considered safe according to new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

New parents will often do (almost) anything to get their babies to sleep, but there are a few new items to avoid using. Weighted swaddles and blankets and hats are no longer considered safe for sleep, according to updated guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released Tuesday.

The new guidance marks the first time the AAP has updated its sleep guidelines in five years. It comes after the organization reviewed almost 160 scientific articles on sleep-related infant fatalities.

The new guidance states that weighted swaddles, blankets, and sleepers should not be placed "on or near" an infant while they sleep. Caregivers should avoid putting a hat on their infants indoors. There are two exceptions to this guideline: Hats are still recommended indoors during the first few hours of life and in the NICU.

Baby sleeping

The other safe sleep guidance remains the same. The AAP still recommends adhering to the ABCs of sleep (alone, on their back, and in a crib). Mattresses and other sleep surfaces should be firm and flat.

Other items to avoid putting in an infant's sleep space include:

  • Padded crib bumpers
  • Blankets
  • Pillows

The AAP reiterated its stance on bed-sharing: Avoid it. The AAP says it's not safe under any circumstance and increases the risk of infant death. Sleeping with an infant on a couch or armchair does, too. But the AAP does still recommend co-sleeping with the infant in the same room as a caregiver or caregivers but on a separate sleep surface, like a bassinet or pack 'n play with a firm mattress.

The organization also considers car seats, bouncers, products with inclined seat backs of more than 10 degrees, and other inclined products unsafe.

Some of these products are also illegal. President Joe Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act in May. The legislation prohibits companies from manufacturing or selling crib bumpers and sleepers in which the sleep surface has an incline of more than 10 degrees. The law does not include mesh crib bumpers.

According to the CDC, more than 3,400 children under the age of 1 die each year from sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The CDC says these deaths frequently happen while an infant is sleeping or in a sleep space.

Concerned parents may purchase a cardiorespiratory monitor, like a sleep sock, to monitor for SIDS. But the AAP warns these products can provide a false sense of security and advises against them.

If you're unsure if your baby's sleep space is unsafe, consult with your child's pediatrician. They can also help you determine if any of the products you currently have are now considered hazardous and provide alternatives.

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