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This summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its infant sleep guidelines for the first time in 5 years. These guidelines, developed by reviewing over 160 scientific studies, aim to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, the cause of death of more than 3,500 infants in the U.S. every year. Here are some evidence-based recommendations for sweet, and safe, dreams.

Back To Sleep

Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs for every nap and night until they’re 1. Side and stomach sleeping are not recommended, even for short rests. Years of research have taught us that when babies sleep on their backs, their airways remain more open, and they don’t risk rolling onto their faces or overheating.

Solid Sleep Surfaces

There is no shortage of products on the market promising a snuggly space for your baby to snooze. The AAP is clear that the only safe surface for infant sleep is a firm, flat mattress with a fitted sheet only. Inclined mattresses, rockers, swings, nests, in-bed sleepers, and soft mattresses all pose significant risk. Check for the CPSC certification to confirm if a product is sleep-safe. Additionally, while babies are likely to nod off in them on occasion, car seats, strollers, swings, carriers, and slings are not recommended for routine sleep.

No Blankets, No Problem

Stay away from blankets, loose bedding, pillows, and weighted sleepers, which can all increase the risk of suffocation or overheating. If you’re swaddling your little one, remember to remove the swaddle as soon as your baby shows signs of rolling over and consider using a swaddle with straps or zips. For chilly nights, layers of clothing or a fitted sleep sack keep kids cozy.

 Wombmate to Roommate

The AAP recommends that babies room-share, but not bed-share, for the first 6 months of life at minimum. Sleeping in their own dedicated space in the same room as their caregivers greatly reduces the risk of SIDS for young infants. A bonus? Unlimited opportunities to coo over how cute they are when they’re sleeping.