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Stomach Sleeping Isn't Only SIDS Risk

Loose Bedding, Bed Sharing, Smoking Are Implicated in New Analysis

One in 5 SIDS Cases Occurs in Day Care

Although it is not clear why, Kattwinkel says smoking is emerging as an important risk factor for SIDS. Other than putting babies to sleep on their backs and keeping loose bedding out of the crib, he says stopping smoking is probably the most important intervention for preventing infant sleep deaths.

It is also very important to make sure day-care providers and other caregivers are educated about SIDS risks. Research has shown that back-sleeping infants who occasionally sleep on their stomachs have a much greater SIDS risk than other babies -- roughly 20 times that of babies who always sleep on their backs and 15 times that of babies who sleep only on their stomachs.

This may explain why as many as 20% of SIDS cases occur in day-care settings. A recent study showed that fewer than half of day-care providers questioned knew to put babies to sleep on their backs.

"A mother can know the risks and follow all the rules, but it may not mean anything if the day-care worker, grandparent or other caregiver isn't educated about this," Kattwinkel says.

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