SIDS still a major concern
About 4,000 babies die each year from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants always be placed on their backs to sleep, and that they share a room with parents but not a bed.
A recent study from Yale School of Medicine found that many infants are not placed to sleep on their backs, and many still routinely share a bed during sleep. The study included 1,276 mothers recruited from 32 hospitals across the country, which were chosen to provide a nationally representative sample of behavior. The participants completed an in-depth survey about infant care practices including bed sharing and infant sleeping positions.
It was found that 28 percent of Hispanic parents, 18 percent of black parents, and 13 percent of white parents share a bed with their infants. Prone (stomach) sleeping, which has an even higher risk of leading to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), was particularly common among black infants, with 22 percent of those infants being placed on their stomachs, according to the study.
“A safe sleep environment is a topic discussed at every infant well visit,” says Dr. Andrea Kane, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It is recommended that babies sleep supine in their own location (their own a crib or bassinet, firm mattress) without anything extra in the bed.”
Dr. Kane adds that, “Too often, parents admit to sleeping alternatively, like having the infant in bed with parents or with the baby positioned on his tummy for sleep. I advise for safe sleep environment to begin immediately and notify the parents that they are placing their beloved infant at risk for death.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these 10 steps to help prevent SIDS:
- Place your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep.
- Place your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib.
- Place your baby to sleep in the same room where you sleep but not the same bed.
- Breastfeed as much and for as long as you can.
- Schedule and go to all well-child visits.
- Keep your baby away from smokers and places where people smoke.
- Do not let your baby get too hot.
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors or other products that claim to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
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