Infant Sleep Safety

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 2:14pm

The American Academy of Pediatrics has expanded its guidelines for infant sleep safety.

They may be unpleasant for a minute or two but vaccines not only guard against illnesses like hepatitis.

Experts now say they can help protect babies from sudden infant death syndrome.

"Babies who are immunized have half the risk of SIDS as babies who are not fully immunized," said Children’s National Medical Center Dr. Rachel Moon.

Dr. Rachel Moon of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC is the lead author of new guidelines on SIDS prevention from the American Academy Of Pediatrics.

She says it's unclear why vaccines seem to have this protective effect but the evidence for such a benefit is strong.

Breastfeeding is also now encouraged as a way to prevent sids. The key could be that breastmilk is known to shield babies against some illnesses.

"We know that babies who have minor infections are at higher risk for SIDS," said Moon.

The AAP guidelines also suggest parents get rid of all types of crib bumper pads those fluffy, pillowy ones and the harder pads because babies could become trapped.

Bumper pad ties could also pose a strangulation risk.

"The baby should be the only thing in the crib except for the mattress and a tightly fitting sheet," said Moon.

The most important advice, according to pediatricians, remains putting your baby to sleep on his or her back.

The number of SIDS cases and infant deaths due to suffocation fell dramatically after the "back to sleep" campaign was introduced in the early 90's.

With these new guidelines experts hope those numbers drop even more.

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