When should baby really sleep in their own room?

How long should your baby sleep in your room? If you ask five parents, you’re likely to get five different answers.

After conducting a new study, researchers at Pennsylvania State University suggest moving infants from their parents’ bedroom at 6 months old, citing more uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. That’s a shorter period of time than the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of room sharing up to the first year.

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Erin Frazier, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Broadway, advises that parents continue to follow the AAP guidelines.

“The Penn State study incorporated a small number of babies, so more research is clearly needed for any guideline changes to occur,” Dr. Frazier said. “But really more important than the length of time for room sharing is making sure that any child under 1 year old is always sleeping by themselves, in a safe crib and on their back.”

Kentucky infants dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a growing problem. According to Safe Sleep Kentucky, local babies are 70 times more likely to die from unsafe sleep than from a motor vehicle accident. That number could be even higher as another new report shows that SIDS is likely underreported.

“We’re losing a couple babies a month in Jefferson County alone,” Dr. Frazier said. “The most common sleep-related risk factor identified was infants being placed on a surface not designed for infant sleep, such as a couch, recliner or in bed with mom and dad.”

Other ways to keep baby sleeping safely

  • Do not allow your baby to sleep with other children or adults at any time.
  • Keep pillows, stuffed animals and other soft materials, including bumper pads, out of the crib.
  • Do not cover your baby in the crib with blankets or comforters. Instead, use footed pajamas or a sleep sack.
  • Keep the room temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult so that a blanket isn’t necessary.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home.

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