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To Protect Against SIDS, Remove Bumper Pads Says AAP


If you want to protect your baby against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging parents to remove bumper pads from their infant’s sleeping area. This new recommendation is the latest revision to the AAP’s guidelines for safe infant sleeping environment.

Breastfeeding and immunization also protect against SIDS

The latest recommendations from the AAP, which were previously revised in 2005, address all sleep-related deaths for infants, not just SIDS. According to Rachel Moon, MD, chairperson of the new guideline committee, although there has been progress in understanding SIDS and in preventing infant suffocation deaths, “we still see evidence of unsafe sleeping practices, and we hoped to address those in these new guidelines.”

The recommendation to remove baby bumper pads from an infant’s sleeping environment is just one of the additions. Moon and the other committee members noted that there is no evidence to support the view that bumper pads reduce the risk of SIDS, while breastfeeding and immunization have been shown to provide such protection.

Another new recommendation is for parents to avoid use of any commercial devices that claim to prevent SIDS, because “there is no evidence that these devices reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation or that they are safe.”

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The AAP initiated its “Back to Sleep” campaign nearly 20 years ago in 1992, and since then the number of deaths from SIDS have decreased by 50%. Today, about 4,600 infants still die each year due to sudden unexpected infant death, and about half of these cases are identified as SIDS.

All parents and caregivers should be aware of the recommendations from the AAP to protect against SIDS and to ensure a safe sleeping environment. They include the following:

  • Place the infant in a supine sleeping position on a firm sleep surface
  • Infants should have their own crib—do not bed-share, but room-sharing is recommended
  • Keep cribs free of loose bedding and soft objects such as stuffed animals
  • Offer a pacifier at bedtime and naptime
  • Avoid overheating
  • Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors
  • Have supervised awake “tummy time,” which facilitates development

The AAP has also recommended pregnant women get regular prenatal care and to avoid smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs both during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Avoiding use of baby bumper pads is only one of the new recommendations offered by the AAP to help protect against SIDS and suffocation in infants. The guidelines also urge healthcare professionals, the media, and researchers to help support the SIDS/safe sleeping environment campaign.

Moon R et al. Pediatrics 2011; published online Oct. 17, 2011; doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2284

Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons