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Many parents do not follow the safe sleep practices of infants. This is how doctors can help.



Parents are more likely to follow safe sleeping practices in infants when doctors tell them clearly what to do and what to avoid to minimize the chances of babies getting injured or dying at night, according to an American study.

A survey of researchers answered more than 34,000 mothers about how often four basic practices follow: placing babies to sleep on their backs; placing babies in a crib or other safe sleeping surface; sharing rooms without sharing a bed; and keeping soft objects and loose mats away from sleeping babies.

Overall, 78 percent of mothers leave babies sleeping on their backs, but only 57 percent keep babies in their room without sharing a bed with them. Only 42 percent of mothers avoided giving babies stuffed animals, pillows, and other cushions, while only 32 percent used strollers or other safe sleeping surfaces.

When mothers were instructed in safe sleep practices by doctors, however, they were 1

2 percent to 28 percent more likely to put babies in bed in the safest ways, according to researchers in pediatrics.

"Putting babies to sleep on their bellies is the most widely known risk factor for sleep-related deaths, but there are other related risks that parents should be aware of, such as sleeping in the side, sleeping with blankets, pillows, or other soft objects and sleep on shared surfaces such as adult beds and couches, "says Ashley Hiray, lead author of the study and senior scientist at the Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland.

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"The safest place for babies to sleep is on their backs, on separate solid sleep surfaces (cribs, pools or Play & nbsp;), without soft bedding (blankets, pillows or armor pads), and in the same caregiver room, "Hirai said by email.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has become much less common in recent decades as doctors urge parents to put babies to sleep on their backs without blankets or other soft bedding and toys that could present a risk of suffocation. A leading cause of infant mortality, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Demographic factors such as age, race, income, or educational levels emerge in this study to explain some change – about 5 to 10 percentage points – in the ratio to mothers who said doctors told them about safe sleep practices.

But demographics explain more than the difference – about 10 to 20 percentage points – in how often mothers follow the advice.

The survey questions did not differentiate the routine habits that led to unsafe infant sleep from accidental or accidental unsafe practices.

"We don't know why families are more in tune with some of these recommendations than others," says Dr. Michael Goodstein, head of WellSpan Neonatology and director of the York County Fence Program.

"I suspect that going backwards is one of the most commonly followed practices because we encourage it for the longest time and the back-to-back campaign has been so successful in saving lives," says Goodstein, who did not participate in the study, writes by email.

Some knowledge gaps can also be cultural or generational, said Dr. Lori Feldman-

"Many caregivers, such as young mothers or grandmothers, who may not be reached by back-to-back campaigns (or safe to sleep). I do not know the importance of putting a baby on his back as a way to prevent AIDS, "he told an email to Feldman-Winter, who did not participate in the study.


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