baby wearing sleeper in cribNational Institute of Health (NIH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) study shows unsafe infant bedding use still common, despite warnings

 

Soft objects and loose bedding , such as thick blankets, quilts, and pillows , can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk, according to the NIH’s . Soft bedding has also been shown to:

  • increase the risk of SIDS
  • Infants should be placed to sleep alone, on their backs,
  • on a firm sleep surface, such as in a mattress in a safety-approved crib , covered by a fitted sheet.
  • soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, quilts, comforters and loose bedding should be kept out of the baby’s sleep area.

Based on responses from nearly 20,000 caregivers, the researchers reported that, although such potentially unsafe bedding use declined from 85.9 percent in 1993-1995, it still remained high, at 54.7 percent, in 2008-2010.

Parents have good intentions but may not understand that blankets, quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.,Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Ph.D., M.P.H.

The current study is an analysis of data from the National Infant Sleep Position Study (NISP), which collected information on the influence of infant sleep position and other safe sleep recommendations on infant care practices.  The survey collected information by telephone from a random sample of more than 1,000 caregivers in U.S. households from 1992-2010.

The Safe to Sleep campaign advises against blankets or other coverings, and recommends:

  • sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper
  • keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

The researchers speculate that among the reasons mothers used bedding were to provide warmth and comfort or to prevent falls from an adult bed or sofa by using pillows as a barricade. They noted that a study of images from popular magazines targeting women of childbearing age found that more than two thirds of these images showed infants sleeping with potentially hazardous bedding such as blankets and pillows.

Seeing images such as these may reinforce beliefs and perceptions that having these items in the infant sleep area is not only a favorable practice, but also the norm, the researchers wrote.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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