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


'Washington Post' Reporter Explores How Pop Culture Influences Views Of Police

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Washington Post reporter Alyssa Rosenberg, who has written a series for the paper about how Hollywood and pop culture has influenced the way the public perceives police.

In 'Appetites,' Bourdain Pleases The Toughest Food Critic (His 9-Year-Old)

Anthony Bourdain's new cookbook features comfort food he cooks for his young daughter. "She's who I need to please, and if she's not happy, I'm not happy," he says.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - October 28, 2016

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton joins us as the new series "Good Girls Revolt" based on her early civil rights work debuts.


Qualcomm Spends Big Money To Get In The Car (Chip) Business

The smartphone chipmaker has agreed to buy NXP Semiconductors for $38 billion. The deal allows Qualcomm to rely less on the smartphone industry. NXP makes semiconductors for cars.

Leave a Comment

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