For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized the cradleboard, used by some American Indian communities, as a culturally appropriate infant sleep surface.
The announcement during Minnesota’s Infant Safe Sleep Week recommends that caregivers avoid over-bundling the cradleboard-bound baby to prevent overheating.
The ABCs of Safe Sleep for infants up to one year of age say that babies should sleep or nap alone; they should be placed on their back to sleep; and babies should sleep in their crib, bassinet, or play yard without blankets, bumpers or pillows.
“If we’ve learned anything, it’s that simple is best. Parents can keep their babies safe by remembering their ABC’s. Their baby should sleep, Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib or bassinet without soft toys, pillows, bumpers or blankets,” said Dr. Andrew Kiragu, past president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a co-chair of the chapter’s child safety caucus.
Research continues to show that bed-sharing raises the risk of a baby’s injury or death, with risk increasing up to five to ten times while co-sleeping an infant younger than four months of age. Minnesota’s most recent data from 2020 showed fewer unexpected infant deaths. In 2020, 33 infants died unexpectedly, compared to the six-year average of 47.
“This week is an opportunity to get the word out about safe sleep practices such as having babies sleep on their backs, alone and in a crib,” said Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Mary Manning. “It also provides a chance to highlight the need for all Minnesotans to have the financial and housing opportunities necessary to provide safe sleeping spaces for babies.”