Despite SIDS risk, 56% of parents inconsistently use safe infant sleep positions

Barsaba Taglieri
Agosto 22, 2017

A little less than half of mothers reported they placed their infants exclusively on their backs to sleep, as per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Since 2005, the AAP recommended infants be placed exclusively on their backs to sleep - the "gold standard" of sleep positioning.

Placing babies on their backs before they go to sleep reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, an unexplained fatal condition also known as SIDS, as well as other sleep-related infant deaths like suffocation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another finding was that those who felt the baby's sleeping position was not up to them, but rather the baby or another family member, were more than three times as likely to place the baby on its stomach.

Survey questions included the mother's choice of typical infant sleeping position, all sleeping positions used by the mother, if the mother meant to place her infant in the supine position - and how often she actually carried through with this intended practice - and whether the mother had received information from her health care provider that was consistent with safe sleep recommendations. But prior research found that while many mothers intend to place their infants on their backs, certain demographic characteristics - such as race and education - may play a role in whether or not mothers followed through with that intent.

Researchers examined data from the Study of Attitudes and Factors Effecting Infant Care (SAFE) survey, a nationally representative prospective sample from mothers in hospital postpartum units.

Overall, 3,297 mothers completed the survey.

Additionally, the researchers observed that advice from the mother's physician significantly influenced their choice of sleep position, and mothers who reported receiving advice that was consistent with AAP recommendations were less likely to intend to place their infants in either prone or side positions.

When doctors explained safe sleep practices, women were 40% less likely to report putting babies to sleep on their stomachs, and 50% less likely to put infants to sleep on their sides, the study also found. "And because of that, a new mom who doesn't really have a lot of information is using information from everybody else in their life".

Colson and co-authors, as well as Goodstein and Ostfield, disclosed no relevant relationships with industry.

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