Not All Parents Put Babies to Sleep on Back
Study Shows Advice on SIDS Prevention Isn't Being Heeded
WebMD News Archive
Choosing Sleep Positions continued...
Ten percent of caregivers said they thought their infant might choke while
sleeping on his or her back. However, those who did not report this concern
were much more likely to put their babies in the back position.
"For the vast majority of infants, concerns about choking while back
sleeping are unfounded," Marian Willinger, PhD, special assistant for SIDS
research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and
Human Development (NICHD), emphasizes in a news release. "Placing infants on
their backs for sleep remains the single most effective means we know to reduce
the risk of sudden infant death syndrome."
Willinger notes that in certain health conditions, a doctor may recommended
against back sleeping, but only after carefully weighing the risks and benefits
to the infant.
Babies Who Sleep on Their Backs
The study revealed that babies were more likely to be put to sleep on their
- They were the first-born child
- They were not premature
- Their mothers did not live in the Southern U.S.
- Their mothers had a higher education level
- Their mothers were not African-American
The researchers urge all health care providers to make sure caregivers are
told that it's safest to place infants to sleep exclusively on their backs, and
that concerns about choking and discomfort are discussed. Doing so, they say,
will help reduce the overall SIDS death rate.
"We can't equivocate, or the message gets lost," says Colson. "And we need
to serve as role models, placing infants to sleep on their backs, beginning the
minute infants are born in our hospital nurseries and pediatric units."
The findings appear in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics
and Adolescent Medicine.