The latest guidelines released from the American Academy of Pediatrics bring the same message consistently offered by the Academy: to protect your infant best from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or any other sleep-related death, for instance, suffocation, you should make sure the baby sleeps alone, on his or her back, in a “naked” crib.This latest report notes that while occurences of SIDS have declined since 1992, when the AAP first recommended that every infant sleep on their backs, other sleep-related deaths, such as those from suffocation, asphyxia, and entrapment, have been on the rise of late. With this in mind, the AAP’s November 2011 report specifically denounces the use of bumper pads for an infant’s crib. Besides bumper pads, the AAP also recommends keeping the crib free of pillows, loose bedding, blankets and stuffed toys. Wedges and devices designed to help a baby maintain a certain position are also advised against.

The report further states that parents should not rely on any sound or video monitoring device that claims to reduce the risk of SIDS. To avoid confusion, a baby monitor that allows parents to see or hear an infant from the next room is fine, but no monitoring device can actually reduce the risk of SIDS, so any company claiming their product does so should not be trusted. This information is backed up by the FDA, which is now recommending to manufacturers to stop claiming that any baby product reduces SIDS risks, as such claims are misleading to consumers.

“In the last year, since the joint FDA-CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) release of the safety communications on infant sleep positioners and related actions, FDA has become aware of a variety of baby products being marketed over-the-counter with claims to prevent or reduce the chance of SIDS,” said Sandy Walsh, an FDA spokesperson. “FDA has never cleared or approved a product to reduce or prevent and SIDS and knows of no evidence that shows that baby products prevent or reduce the chance of SIDS.”

Walsh added, “ Current research shows that the best way to reduce the chance of SIDS for infants from birth to one year of life is: alone in their own crib or bassinet on their backs on a firm sleep surface; and in a crib or bassinet free of pillows, blankets, bumpers, sleep positioners and other objects. Parents and caregivers should not buy baby products simply because they say they will lower SIDS risk—they will not. Some common baby products can pose a suffocation risk to your baby. Parents and caregivers should always check with their health care professional before using a new product for your baby or other over—the-counter medical products.”

Consumer Reports also endorses a bare crib as the safest sleeping environment for your baby.