For years, pediatricians have urged parents to put sleeping babies on their backs to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics is adding something new to that recommendation a pacifier. Not only is it okay for babies to fall asleep with it but now, they are recommending it.
"Now that there are six studies, we're convinced there is enough evidence and the public clearly should know about it," says Dr. John Kattwinkel from the American Academy of Pediatrics. So, the American Academy of Pediatrics now says pacifiers at naptime and bedtime may help keep a baby's airways open and change sleep patterns, reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and there are other new recommendations: bed-sharing is not recommended, but room-sharing is.
Studies found the risk of SIDS goes down when a baby sleeps in a crib near the parents' bed, but not in the bed with the parents. That's still not good. Above all, doctors still urge parents to put sleeping babies on their backs to reduce SIDS risk. They've found 90% of mothers comply. The problem really is with friends and family members who don't agree.
"Young mothers can take a baby home and do what they saw in the hospital, but then her mother says 'Oh, that's not right - put the baby on its stomach," says Dr. John Kattwinkel.
Dr. Kattwinkel adds that new moms need to remember the number of SIDS deaths have dropped 50% since the "back to sleep" campaign started in 1992. Which was the nationwide effort to get parents to flip babies over so they'd sleep on their back. Dentists say pacifiers won't harm the development of teeth, as long as they are weaned by age one.