A recent study has found that parents’ gaps in the knowledge of the safest sleep environments for babies up the risk of their children to develop the dreaded sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
A group of researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that far too many babies in the U.S. sleep in hazardous environments. The findings were based on footage of infants sleeping at home.
The youngest babies were 1 month old while the oldest were 6 month old. Study authors analyzed the videos to see whether what they see matches AAP’s safe sleep recommendations for infants.
In the research paper, scientists wrote that parents created an unsafe environment for their kids to sleep in even when they knew that they were being recorded. Among the most common errors parents made were placing the babies in prone position or on their sides, using soft surfaces and pillows, having loose bedding or sharing bed with the young ones.
Study authors noted that of the 160 one-month-old babies that took part in the study, 91 percent were sleeping in cribs or other sleep environments filled with dangerous or unapproved items such as pillows, bedding, toys, and sleep positioners.
Furthermore, 87 percent of 3-month-olds slept in unsafe environments, while 93 percent of the 6-month-olds were surrounded by hazardous items while asleep. The research also revealed that up to 21 percent of babies slept on unapproved sleep surfaces.
Moreover, 14 percent of the one-month-old babies and 33 percent of the 6-month-olds were not put to sleep on their backs as the AAP recommends. The research team also found that an alarming number of parents decide to share the bed with their kids.
According to the AAP, bed-sharing is the highest risk factor for SIDS. But embracers of the practice claim that bed-sharing has numerous health benefits for children. AAP critics say that the academy’s stance on bed-sharing often relies on faulty and imprecise science.
AAP researchers noted that their study results are more accurate than past studies because the latest study was based on video footage not self-reports from parents.
The AAP has been trying to persuade the nation’s parent to place their kids on the back while asleep since 1992, but very few parents stick with the recommendations.
Image Source: Pixabay