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Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

To help prevent deaths from soft bedding, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have revised their recommendations for putting infants down to sleep. Soft bedding may be a major contributor to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS -- although the exact cause is still largely unknown.

The CPSC, AAP, and NICHD recommend that infants under 12 months be put to sleep in a crib with no soft bedding of any kind under or on top of the baby. Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing as an alternative to blankets with no other covering. If using a blanket, put baby with its feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, only as far as the baby's chest.

For years, CPSC has warned parents and caregivers to place infants to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress; and never to place infants on top of soft, fluffy bedding because if the baby rolls over, the bedding can become molded around the infant's face. Past studies have shown that as many as one-third of the babies who died from SIDS were placed on top of soft bedding, such as pillows, comforters, or sheepskins. While deaths from SIDS have dropped dramatically in recent years after the Back-to-Sleep Campaign, as many as 900 infant deaths each year are still associated with soft bedding.

New information shows that babies are also at increased risk for SIDS if they get their heads covered by soft bedding even while they sleep on their backs.

The CPSC, the AAP, and the NICHD have released the following revised recommendations to reduce the risk of death associated with soft bedding:

  • Place baby on his/her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress, in a crib that meets current safety standards.
  • Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft products from the crib.
  • Consider using a sleeper as an alternative to blankets, with no other covering.
  • If using a blanket, place baby with its feet at the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby's chest.
  • Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep.
  • Do not place your baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface to sleep.
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