American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Parenting Guidelines

Young boy plays with tabletThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made additions to guidelines for two childhood health measures: access to screens (computer, television, tablets, etc.) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) prevention. These updates provide new information about important topics in childhood health.

Childhood Screen Time Access Strategy Is Widely Variable

Screens have become common in this digital age, but their effects on childhood development are largely unknown. Even though research into how screen time can affect children is still in its infancy, the AAP has gathered enough information to offer an official guide for the healthy management of childhood screen access.

As is common in many health management strategies, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that is guaranteed to be equally effective in all cases. The AAP considers multiple variables for each child, including age, parental presence during screen time, monitoring capabilities, and location of viewing, among other factors. The AAP has developed an online tool to assist parents in developing a plan that accounts for many of the identified factors.

Despite the large amount of child-to-child variability, the APP does offer some generalized guidelines, such as turning off all devices when they are not being used and not allowing screens in bedrooms. More specific guidelines are included for children younger than 5, such as:

  • Avoid screen exposure for children younger than 18 months old, except for video-chat bonding when necessary.
  • Parents should select positive, educational, high-quality content for children 18-24 months.
  • Parental participation in screen viewing is especially encouraged for children 18-24 months.
  • Restrict kids ages 2-5 to a single hour of quality screen viewing per day. Parents should continue to participate and engage in conversation about the content when possible.

SIDS Prevention Guideline Updates

About 3,500 babies die from SIDS each year in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The causes of SIDS are still largely unknown, but several strategies can be used to aid in prevention.

The AAP updated a 2011 policy by stating parents should sleep in the same room as infants for at least the first six months of their lives—ideally for a year—but not in the same bed. Infants should be placed alone on their backs on a firm surface with a tight-fitted sheet and no other obstructions. The association cautions that babies should never be left on soft surfaces such as sofas, couches, or cushions. The AAP advises parents to put the baby down in an appropriate place if they feel they are likely to fall asleep with the baby.


  1. John, T. (2016, October 24). Parents should sleep in same room as newborns to prevent SIDS, doctors say. Retrieved from
  2. Luscombe, B. (2016, October 21). Here is how to decide how much screen time to give kids. Retrieved from

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  • Izzy

    October 31st, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    I think that we are all smart enough to know that if you are using the screen as a babysitter then it is too much. Then again the people who are doing that are definitely not the ones who are worrying so much about this at all so I think that sometimes warnings and modifications like these fall upon a deaf ear.

  • Giovana

    October 31st, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    so many differing things come out all the time that you really aren’t sure what to believe anymore

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