Removing loose bedding from a baby’s sleeping environment is one way
to reduce their risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome
(SIDS), write the researchers, who are from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have little understanding of how many infants in the U.S. are
put into sleeping environments where soft bedding or blankets may be
used,” said Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, the study’s lead author and
senior scientist in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health in
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be put to
sleep on their backs on a firm sleep surface free of soft objects,
including pillows, blankets and bumpers. Those recommendations are
echoed by the “Safe to Sleep” program from the National Institutes
“The danger is that thick blankets, quilt or pillows can obstruct
the baby’s airway, which would keep them from being able to
breathe,” Shapiro-Mendoza said in a phone interview.
Recommendations about safe sleeping were first made in the
mid-1990s. The researchers write in the journal Pediatrics that the
rate of SIDS declined between 2000 and 2010. Meanwhile, the rate of
sleep-related suffocation more than doubled from 7 cases per 100,000
newborns to about 16 per 100,000.
For the new study, the researchers used data on children younger
than eight months, collected from 1993 to 2010 as part of the
National Infant Sleep Position study.
The researchers write that about 86 percent of parents reported
putting their babies to sleep with loose bedding between 1993 and
1995. That figure fell to about 55 percent between 2008 and 2010.
During the most recent period, the researchers found, teenage
mothers and mothers with less than a high school education were most
likely to use loose bedding.
“It can be tricky for parents because they might see magazine and
other images where they see babies with blanket and pillows,” said
Shapiro-Mendoza. “This may reinforce the idea that these activities
are safe and that’s the norm.”
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“Parents are really well intentioned,” she said. “They want to
provide warmth and comfort to the baby, but all the baby really
needs is infant sleep clothing.”
Baby sleep clothing keeps babies warm and does not entrap the child,
Another recent study found about one in eight sudden and
sleep-related deaths among infants occur when they're put to sleep
on sofas (see Reuters Health story of October 13, 2014 here: http://reut.rs/1HGizPw).
Shapiro-Mendoza said parents need to know that the safest place for
babies is on their backs on a firm mattress that's covered with a
“There’s no need for other bedding,” she said, adding that people
can get more information from their pediatricians and the “Safe to
Sleep” website (http://1.usa.gov/1HGgZNA).
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/uFc4g2 Pediatrics, online December 1, 2014.
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