New recommendations: Room-sharing can prevent SIDS

A newborn sleeps safely in the hospital. (file)

GRAND RAPIDS (WOOD) — The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new set of recommendations for where babies should sleep.

Experts say sharing a room with your baby can cut the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in half. However, parents should not share a bed with the baby. The baby should be placed in a crib or bassinet in the parents’ room for at least the first six months of life up until the age of 1.

>>Online: Recommendations

Also, for the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth.

“We know skin-to-skin helps encourage breastfeeding, and breastfeeding is protective against sleep-related death,” University of Virginia School of Medicine Dr. Rachel Moon said.

Experts also say giving babies pacifiers while they sleep has shown to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths.

In the 1990s, the “Back to Sleep” campaign of led to a decline in sleep-related infant deaths. Still, 3,500 babies die during sleep each year in the U.S.

The updated safe sleep recommendations released Monday are the first since 2011.