Home Monitors Don't Appear to Predict SIDS
He is professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Task Force on Infant Positioning and SIDS.
So what can parents do to prevent SIDS?
Malloy suggests the best prevention is proper bedding and, most important of all, placing infants on their back when they sleep. "At this point, it appears we have had some impact [on SIDS] with the Back-to-Sleep Campaign," Malloy tells WebMD.
Back-to-Sleep is the AAP's nationwide campaign encouraging parents to place their babies on their backs, and not to let infants sleep face down, in the so-called "prone" position.
A policy statement released last year by the AAP's Task Force on Infant Positioning and SIDS stated: "There is no evidence that home monitoring with such monitors decreases the incidence of SIDS. Furthermore, there is no evidence that infants at increased risk of SIDS can be identified by in-hospital respiratory or cardiac monitoring."
That report included a number of recommendations for how to prevent SIDS. Among them are the following:
- Infants should be placed for sleep in a nonprone position. While side sleeping is not as safe as sleeping on the back, it is safer than sleeping face-down. If the side position is used, caretakers should be advised to bring the arm that is underneath the side-sleeping infant forward, to lessen the likelihood of the infant rolling to the prone position.
- Parents should use a crib that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Parents should not place infants on waterbeds, sofas, soft mattresses, or other soft surfaces. Also, loose bedding, such as blankets and sheets, may be hazardous. If blankets are to be used, they should be tucked in around the crib mattress so the infant's face is less likely to become covered by bedding.
- Bed sharing or co-sleeping may be hazardous under certain conditions. As an alternative to bed sharing, parents might consider placing the infant's crib near their bed to allow for more convenient breastfeeding and parent contact. Parents who choose to bed share with their infant should not smoke or use substances, such as alcohol or drugs, that may impair arousal.
- Overheating should be avoided. The infant should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.