AAP Guidelines: Avoid Devices That Claim to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

As if parents don’t have enough on their plates already, the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is seemingly always talked about, but still, so little is known about it. Luckily, the AAP recommendations for SIDS prevention are pretty clear. While following them all may not always be easy, AAP SIDS guidelines are backed by research and intended to help keep your baby safe. At Dreamland, we understand the importance of safety so we’ve gathered the below information to help parents and caregivers learn more about AAP recommendations for SIDS prevention. 

What are the AAP guidelines for SIDS prevention?

The American Association of Pediatrics, or the AAP, is the largest collaboration of infant and children doctors in the U.S. The AAP has compiled guidelines for safe sleep throughout infanthood in an effort to combat SIDS deaths. 

These guidelines apply to infants up to the age of one and provide evidence-backed advice to help you as a parent ensure that your baby sleeps safely so you can sleep soundly. 

What is the AAP policy for safe sleep?

The AAP’s policy for safe sleep includes laying your baby to sleep flat on their back only. Research has shown that “back is best” when it comes to safe infant sleep and reducing the risk of SIDS. Once your baby becomes more mobile and begins to roll back to belly, you may want to gently flip them back onto their back as they sleep. We all know moving a sleeping baby at all is like a dangerous game of Operation - one wrong move and BBBZZZZ - baby’s awake. It is important, though, that your baby gets used to back-laying, so keep trying. Don’t let it keep you up all night, though. If your baby can easily flip back and forth, they are less at risk of the dangers of rebreathing and suffocation due to their ability to change positions. Similar to adults, babies often move in their sleep as they seek comfort. Wrap your baby in a Dreamland Weighted Swaddle before bed to help keep them safe, secure, and asleep longer. The gentle weight in the swaddle evenly distributes weight and creates a sense of calming for babies, thus helping them lay still and sleep. 

The AAP’s policy for safe sleep also includes keeping a baby’s sleep space free of toys, stuffed animals, and blankets. This recommendation is in place in an attempt to avoid similar situations that your little one could encounter with belly sleeping, such as suffocation and rebreathing. 

What is the cause of SIDS?

While suffocation and rebreathing are thought to be contributing factors to SIDS deaths in infants, the truth is there is no clear explanation as to what exactly causes SIDS. What we do know is that there are risk factors and triggering events.

Some factors that could contribute to SIDS are:

  • Premature babies: Premature or babies born at a low birth weight may be at an increased risk of SIDS. 
  • Familial history: Babies with a sibling who has passed from SIDS or been diagnosed as “failure to thrive” may be at an increased risk. 
  • Inadequate prenatal care: Prenatal is essential in giving your baby the best start in life. This includes taking care by avoiding drugs and alcohol. 
  • Race: For reasons that are not known or understood, SIDS occurs less in Caucasian babies. 
  • Age: Babies are most at risk of SIDS between two and four months of age. 
  • Events that may trigger SIDS: 

  • Bed sharing, belly sleeping, and soft surfaces: These can all lead to rebreathing. Rebreathing is the act of recycling breaths due to a lack of space between the baby’s nose and the surface. This causes the infant to inhale air that has an excess of carbon dioxide - which can ultimately lead to carbon dioxide poisoning. Fresh air and ensuring space to breathe are important for your baby. 
  • Exposure to tobacco and nicotine: Pre and post pregnancy smoking should be avoided. Smoking while pregnant can lead to reduced oxygen levels that reach the placenta, while second-hand smoke exposes the baby to harmful toxins and chemicals. 
  • Overheating: The thought is a baby who is overheated will fall asleep more deeply, becoming difficult to wake. This can make changing positions, if needed, impossible. 
  • While there is no way of knowing if your baby is at risk of SIDS, this advice can help you ensure your baby is as safe as possible while they sleep. That means that you too can catch up on some much needed sleep. We love sleep at Dreamland, hence our mission to help parents and babies get more of it. 

    What devices does the AAP recommend for safe sleep?

    The AAP recommends the following safe sleep spaces.

    AAP safe sleep spaces: 

    • Crib
    • Playpen
    • Bassinet 

    All of these sleep spaces must have a firm mattress. A firm mattress can help prevent your baby from sinking. The idea is that a plush mattress could cause sinking which could lead to suffocation and re-breathing. It is also important that your baby’s sleep space has no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the sleeping space. 

    AAP unsafe sleep spaces: 

    • Couch
    • Recliner
    • Sitting devices

    Sitting devices include car seats (when not driving in the car), infant swings, bouncers, or infant recliners. Anything your baby has to be buckled into - is not recommended for sleeping in. 

    What are other recommendations by the AAP for safe sleep*?

    Besides recommendations regarding your baby’s sleep space, the AAP shares other advice promoting safe sleep.

  • Wedges/positioners: Sleeping at an incline greater than 10% poses a positional risk for a baby. 
  • Drop-side cribs: Although these used to be standard, they are no longer made or recommended for safe sleep due to the risk of being trapped or injured by their moving parts. 
  • Breastfeeding: It is not known exactly how breastfeeding reduces SIDS risks, but studies show it does decrease its chances. 
  • Not bedsharing: While it is recommended to keep a baby in your room for his or her first six months, sleeping in bed with them is discouraged. 

  • Conclusion

    It’s natural to be stressed or worried; it comes with the territory of being a parent. Take a breath and relax, knowing you now have the tools and knowledge to confidently practice safe sleep with your baby, drastically reducing the chances of SIDS and any sleep-related injuries. You may be wondering, “with all these rules, how is my baby supposed to even get any sleep?” 

    At Dreamland, we’ve got you covered. Our sleep solutions were designed in close partnership with Pediatricians, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses Certified Sleep Consultants and have been reviewed by Pulmonologists. Your sleep and your baby’s safety are as important to us as it is to you. Shop our weighted sleep aid products proven to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Our products may have come about by chance, but they are backed by science with safety as a number one priority. From one tired mom to another, give yourself the gift of Dreamland.

    *The AAP updated its guidelines in June 2022, and is currently not recommending weighted sleep solutions. You can read their full report here. Please note this is not a recall. Dreamland Baby is working closely with the ASTM committee to help enact standards for weighted sleepwear. Dreamland Baby is also working with a U.S.-based research university on a comprehensive sleep study and is hopeful that the AAP will reverse its 2022 recommendations on weighted sleepwear. Since 2019, Dreamland Baby has sold over 500,000 weighted sleep sacks with zero adverse events caused by our weighted sleep solutions. Safety is always our #1 priority.

    ← Older Post Newer Post →

    Dreamland Baby Blog

    Adjusting Your Baby’s Sleep for Fall Daylight Savings Time

    Adjusting Your Baby’s Sleep for Fall Daylight Savings Time

    Fall daylight savings is around the corner, and you may be looking forward to getting that extra hour of sleep - unless you have small...

    Read more
    How Your Baby’s Sleep Changes In The Fall

    How Your Baby’s Sleep Changes In The Fall

    Autumn Baby Sleep Tips As summer turns the corner and fall comes around, you may notice your baby’s sleep schedule is changing. Thanks to something...

    Read more