The American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) recommends newborns to not sleep in the prone position (which is simply described as baby sleeping on their stomach). The AAP went further and changed their policy statement to promote newborns to in the supine position (simply described as baby sleeping on their back). The recommendation was to help parents reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths.
Since the policy and recommendation change the prevalence of babies sleeping in the supine position has increased from 13% in 1992 to 72% in 2001 and 75% as early as 2010. The rise in supine sleeping position has coincided with the drop in occurrence of SIDS (see Figure below).
The amazing relationship between supine sleeping and SIDS can seen in the trend that SIDS level plateau around 2001. This coincides with surveys that found parents who put their baby to sleep in the back sleeping position didn’t increase drastically from 2001 through 2010. Even with the great reduction since 1990, SIDS is still the 3rd leading cause of infant mortality and the leading cause of death for newborns from 28 days to 1 years of age.
Here are some great tips for parents to help your baby sleep on their backs –
- Don’t smoke during pregnancy
- Don’t drink during pregnancy
- Have your newborn sleep in the crib or bassinet (in the same room for easy monitoring)
- Always place babies to sleep on their backs
- Do not overheat the baby
- Use firm mattress and don’t bring babies to sleep on adult beds or with parents
- Remove toys, soft bedding, clothes, etc from crib while babies are sleeping
Share this information with other parents today, so we can reduce the occurrence of SIDS.
The benefits of swaddling has been tested over time and recent studies by Dr. Rachel Moon at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, found “parents who routinely used swaddling were more likely to find it effective and to place their infant supine when swaddled.” (1)
Why is supine beneficial?
Supine position is placing the baby on his or her back for sleep. The benefits of supine sleeping position are not much of a debate and have been the recommend position since 1992 by US Health Agencies. All pediatricians agree, infants need to sleep in the supine position to reduce the outcome of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A study by Skadberg, Morild, & Markestad in 1998 (2) shows how supine position can greatly reduce occurrence of SIDS because the possibility of air passage ways (nose & mouth) from being blocked. Additionally, the supine position reduces pressure (from the babies own weight) applied to the lungs of the baby to prevent choking.
Supine position is the way parents need to put their baby to sleep. One method to train infants to sleep in this position is by swaddling. Parents always need to consider safety in raising a baby because they are yong and are at their most vulnerable stage. The best reason to swaddle is safety because it will train your newborn to sleep in the proper supine position. The supine position is the safest way to sleep and the chance your newborn would encounter SIDS will be dramatically decreased.
Supine position – baby’s back is against the mattress (sleeps on the back)
Prone position – baby’s back is facing up away from the mattress (sleeps on the belly)
Side position – baby’s back is perpendicular to the mattress (sleeps on the left or right side of body)
(1) Swaddling: Will It Get Babies Onto Their Backs for Sleep?, R. Moon, etc, 2011
(2) Abandoning prone sleeping: Effect on the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, Skadberg, Morild, & Markestad, 1998