Infants should sleep in the same room as the parents—but on a separate surface—for at least the first six months of life, according to a new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The policy statement, based on new research, encourages new parents to keep their newborn in a crib or bassinet in their room for at least six months—and optimally a year—to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. “Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%,” says a news release from the organization.
The report, which is published in the November issue of Pediatrics, also supports skin-to-skin care for newborn infants, addresses the use of bedside and in-bed sleepers, and adds to recommendations on how to create a safe sleep environment, according to the news release.
Infants should be placed on a firm surface without soft bedding, such as pillows, bumper pads, blankets and toys, the release says.
“We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep,” says Rachel Moon, lead author of the report. “Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous.”