When It Comes To Baby's Crib, Experts Say Go Bare Bones | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

When It Comes To Baby's Crib, Experts Say Go Bare Bones

Play associated audio

No more blankets in the baby's bed. Not even when it's cold outside. No bumpers, pillows, or toys. All these accoutrements are hazards for newborns and infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has released new expanded guidelines for reducing deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and other causes including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia.

"Babies can roll into [anything] soft and suffocate against it, and babies can crawl under it and suffocate," says Rachel Moon, a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC and chairwoman of the AAP Task Force on SIDS. "Even the hard bumper pads are a problem because babies can scoot in and get their head wedged in between the mattress and the bumper pad and can't get out."

Over the past 20 years since the academy's initial recommendations to put infants to sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs, the incidence of SIDS has declined dramatically. Even so, some 2,300 babies still die every year in the U.S. from SIDS.

Moon says the safest environment is a bare one. The only thing that should be in the crib is the mattress with a tightly fitting sheet and the baby, she says. Some products claim they can help prevent SIDS, but there's absolutely no evidence for that, says Moon.

The new recommendations also suggest the baby should be in the parents room, so parents can hear, see and touch them if needed. But not in the parents' bed, with potentially risky pillows and heavy blankets.

Accidental suffocation may account for some of these deaths. There are also some babies who are particularly vulnerable because their brain hasn't fully matured yet and they don't wake up easily when faced with an obstacle. Exposure to tobacco, alcohol or illicit drugs during pregnancy can increase that risk.

This is the first year the academy also recommends breast feeding and immunization to prevent infant death. Moon says they both help prevent infection and its known that many babies who die from SIDS often suffered from an infection before they died. The infection may have weakened their immune system and their ability to breathe normally.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Lowly Worm Is Back! Richard Scarry Jr. Brings Dad's Manuscript To Life

The younger Scarry, also an illustrator, found a draft of Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! in his dad's Swiss chalet. He says all that was missing was the final art, "so that's what I did."
NPR

A Food Crisis Follows Africa's Ebola Crisis

Food shortages are emerging in the wake of West Africa's Ebola epidemic. Market shelves are bare and fields are neglected because traders can't move and social gatherings are discouraged.
NPR

Uber Greases The Wheel With Obama's Old Campaign Manager

Uber is hiring David Plouffe, the mastermind of Obama's 2008 campaign, to power its own political strategy. What can a tech-savvy political animal offer a ride-sharing service?
NPR

Native Stories From Alaska Give Gamers Something To Play With

The video game Never Alone draws on a traditional Inupiaq story and the actual experiences of native Alaskan elders, storytellers and youth.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.