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Safe Sleep for Your Baby

In Milwaukee around 20% of infant mortality is attributable to a combination of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS),  and Sudden Unexplained Death in infancy (SUDI).  Of these deaths the majority die in an unsafe sleep environment.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department strongly advises parents NOT to share a bed with their infant. This is based on an American Academy of Pediatrics 2011 Policy Statement which states that the risk of SIDS is reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother, but the risk is increased when infants share a bed with parents or anyone else.  

Co-Sleeping Defined

The term “co-sleeping” can be confusing, as it is used both to refer to sharing a bed and sharing a room. To clarify the distinction, many pediatric experts now refer to “bed-sharing” (referring to a infant who is sleeping in the same bed, couch, or other surface where parents or others are sleeping), and “room-sharing” (referring to a infant who is sleeping in the parents’ room, but in their own crib or bassinet). 

SHARE A ROOM, NOT A BED.


Safe Sleep Guidelines

Parents should:

  • Put baby to sleep on their back. Babies who sleep on their backs are safer.

  • Provide a separate but nearby sleeping environment, meaning: babies should share a room with their parents, but not a bed. The risk of SIDS is reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother.

  • Never put a baby to sleep on a couch or a chair. A crib, bassinet or cradle that conforms to the safety standards is recommended.

  • Make sure that the only item in the crib is a mattress, covered by a tight-fitting sheet. No bumper pads, blankets or toys.

  • Never lay a baby down on or next to a pillow.  Pillows are extremely dangerous for infants as they can cause suffocation.

  • Do not ever use infant sleep positioners.  The FDA says there have been 12 known deaths associated with these products. 

  • Dress the baby in a one-piece sleeper to keep them warm in winter.

  • Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for the whole family. But the house should not be too warm.

  • Never smoke in a house where an infant or child lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force has found that rates of bed-sharing are increasing, especially as we encourage breastfeeding. But the conclusion of the task force is that bed-sharing, as practiced in the US and other Western countries is more hazardous than the infant sleeping on a separate sleep surface. It is recommended that infants not share a bed with adults.  Infants may be brought into bed for nursing or comforting, but should be returned to their own safe space to sleep when the parent is ready to return to sleep.


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