Infant sleep guidelines: Do you follow these best practices?

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If you have kids, you know there’s a great debate about the best way for baby to sleep — whether it’s on the infant’s side, stomach, knees or back.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a new warning about playing too fast and loose with the official recommendation.

RELATED: What’s the ideal bedtime for kids?

Don’t backpeddle on ‘Back to Sleep’

Remember the national “Back to Sleep” safe sleep campaign?

Public service ad campaigns in the ’90s routinely advised that a baby should always sleep on its back.

While my wife and I were fierce about following that advice when we had infants, we knew a lot of fellow parents who swore by their baby sleeping through the night on its side or stomach.

In fact, CDC data shows that 22% of mothers say they don’t follow the official recommendation to put their baby on his or her back to sleep.

In addition, 39% of moms reported using soft bedding like bumpers that could pose a choking hazard in cribs. (Again, the official recommendations frown on soft bedding for baby.)

All told, the sad reality is that 3,500 babies are lost each year to sleep-related deaths.

“We must do more to ensure every family knows the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations — babies should sleep on their backs, without any toys or soft bedding, and in their own  crib. Parents are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but not the same bed.

– CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.

Baby safety tips to keep in mind

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following guidelines for parents:

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  • Place your baby to sleep on his or her back for all sleep times — including short naps
  • Never place the baby on its side or stomach to sleep
  • Use a safety-approved mattress and crib
  • No pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys or sleep positioners in the crib
  • Feel free to share a room with your baby, but resist the temptation to bring them into your bed

And remember, money should never be an issue when it comes to the safety of your child! KeepingBabiesSafe.org runs a donor-supported program that offers free safety-approved cribs to financially challenged parents.

RELATED: Recall alert — More than 40,000 OshKosh Baby jackets pose choking risk

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