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AAP updates guidelines on media use, safe sleeping

child watching television The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines regarding media use for babies and toddlers, and safe-sleeping practices for infants.

The group revised its position of no screen time for children younger than age 2. New recommendations say video-chatting is OK, but other screen media should still be avoided for those younger than 18 months. Parents are encouraged to select high-quality programs and watch along with their tots ages 18 to 24 months. The new policy advises parents and caregivers to create a family media plan, taking into account the “health, education and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family.” An online tool, available in English and Spanish, can help families create their own media use plan.

To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the AAP also updated safe-sleeping recommendations, urging parents to share their bedroom, but not the same bed, with their infant for the first year or at least the first six months. Babies should be placed on their back in a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet — no bumpers, blankets, pillows or soft toys, which pose a suffocation risk. Breastfeeding is also encouraged as an added protection against SIDS.