Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics released their updated safe sleep guidelines. It is their first update since 2011. We had the pleasure of meeting Amber Kroeker at the recent ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. Amber is one of the country’s leading infant injury prevention experts who specializes in infant safe sleep and child passenger safety and also the inventor the Smitten Sleep System. Today we’re sharing Amber’s response to the updated AAP Safe Sleep Guidelines.
I’m thrilled with the AAP’s directive to pediatricians to have “open, non-judgmental conversations with parents” about sleep practices. Additionally, with these guidelines, the AAP begins to acknowledge that parents are balancing many factors when making sleep choices for their infants. As an injury-prevention specialist, I’m pleased to see the conversation about safe sleep shift from shaming to collaboration.
In these guidelines, the AAP has recognized that exhausted, overwhelmed parents often make less safe choices for sleep – like allowing baby to sleep on sofas, adult beds and other too-soft surfaces. With these guidelines, the AAP has taken a tremendous step towards acknowledging that convenience is a critical factor affecting safe sleep while offering clear, concise guidelines to keep infants safe.
On the other hand, it is easy to imagine parents wondering exactly how they are supposed to room-share with baby for at least six months. Some parents do not have room for a full-size crib in their bedrooms and bed-sharing is discouraged.
Our challenge now is to find ways to helps parents meet these new guidelines. Tools like infant bassinet boxes will play a critical role in making safe sleep accessible for all families. Bassinet boxes offer parents an affordable, highly portable safe sleep space that has a more manageable footprint than a traditional crib – making them a good option for both room-sharing and around-the-house napping. When used properly, bassinet boxes provide a protected sleep space that can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation death. The boxes have been used in Finland for almost 80 years with no reported safety issues.
Amber Kroeker, MPH, is a pediatric injury prevention specialist with a focus on infant safe sleep. She works as a Child Injury Prevention Program Coordinator at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Amber is also the inventor of the Smitten Sleep System, a next generation infant bassinet box specifically designed to reduce the risk of infant sleep death. Smitten is available through Amber’s company, Pip & Grow.