Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated safe sleep guidelines for infants under one year. This is exciting because there has not been an update since 2016. The information shared last week brings clarity to several gray areas around safe infant sleep. Let’s look at the key points of their updated research and recommendations!

Always place your baby on his or her back for safe sleep.

  • Side sleeping is not advised.
  • If your baby has reflux, GERD, or is fed using an NG or OG tube, he or she should still be placed to sleep on their back without any positioners or elevation. 

Use a firm, flat, non-inclined sleep surface.

  • Cribs, bassinets, and pack-n-plays/playards with a snugly fitted sheet are approved for infant sleep.
  • Inclined sleep products, in-bed sleepers, hammocks, and baby pods/nests are not approved. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if a product has been recalled.
  • Any incline should be less than 10 degrees. A greater incline is considered unsafe. Baby might slide to the bottom of the sleep surface in a position that could compromise his or her breathing.
  • Keep soft objects, such as pillows, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers, and loose bedding, such as blankets and non-fitted sheets, away from the infant’s sleep area in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Infants should sleep in their parents’ room for at least the first 6 months.

  • While it is recommended that your baby room share while sleeping in his or her own safe space, the AAP does not support bed sharing.
  • Co-bedding has been shown to be associated with a higher risk of infant injury.

Use wearable blankets (sleep sacks/ swaddles) or dress your infant in layers of clothing one more than adults would wear.

  • Weighted blankets, sleepers, swaddles, sleep sacks, or objects are not recommended to be placed on or near an infant while sleeping. The concern is, not enough research has been conducted to ensure a baby’s breathing is unrestricted while wearing a weighted piece of clothing.
  • Stop swaddling your infant once he or she starts to show signs of attempting to roll – this usually happens around the age of 3 – 4 months.

Do not use hats on infants when indoors except in the first hours of life or in the NICU.

  • Using hats indoors has been shown to increase the risk of overheating.

Encourage supervised tummy time when your baby is awake.

  • Introduce tummy time while your baby is awake and supervised for short periods of time beginning soon after arriving home from the hospital.
  • Try increasing tummy time sessions incrementally to reach at least 15–30 min total daily by the time your baby is 7 weeks old.

Click here to have a closer look at the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines in their entirety. While this update may seem overwhelming, please try not to worry. Take a look at Table 3 to easily view the 2016 recommendations compared to the 2022 revised guidelines. We hope this brings peace of mind to caregivers as we all support our babies in safe sleep. For additional sleep support contact Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny for guidance from a Sleep Coach or Newborn Care Expert