With all the research and education out there nowadays regarding sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and SIDS risk factors you’d assume that most parents are putting their babies to bed in safer sleep environments than ever before. However, a new study, “Nocturnal Video Assessment of Infant Sleep Environments,” coming out in the September 2016 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 15), shows that the opposite is true.
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The study, a video assessment of parents and babies shows that a majority of parents, even when they’re aware they’re being video recorded still put their babies in unsafe sleep environments with high risk factors linked to SIDS. The study was small but telling, and recorded the sleep time routines of healthy, term newborns at the ages 1, 3, and 6 months. The video recordings were conducted within family homes and among the 167 infants enrolled in the study, most were places in inappropriate sleep spaces, and worse, babies who woke and were then moved in the middle of the night were more likely to be placed in an unsafe sleep environment.
The study found some good news, in that 58% of 1-month-old infants began the night in their parents’ room, and the majority (79%) were on an AAP-approved sleep surface such as a crib, cradle, or bassinet.
In bad news, although 86% of babies were initially placed in an approved on-their-back sleep position, 12% were placed on their side or tummy to sleep and a whopping 91% of babies had non approved items on their sleep surface, the most common items included loose bedding, bumper pads, pillows, stuffed animals, and sleep positioners. 28% of all infants recorded ended up sleeping in at least 2 locations at the 1-month observation and 91% of them ended up on a non approved sleep surface (eg, adult bed, sofa, car seat, co-sleeper, or swing) for the second sleep location.
The data is alarming, mainly because most parents in the study were stable, college educated and aware of the recording going on, yet failed to keep their babies safe and the researchers note that this suggests that “current public education and health care provider guidance related to safe infant sleep are not being carefully adhered to, even in a relatively educated, affluent patient population.” Overall, the findings are a good reminder to parents and care givers that continued efforts to improve parent education regarding SIDS is needed. To learn more about safe sleeping choices for your baby check out new ways to reduce the risks of SIDS.