Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published a study that suggests that about 4,000 infants lose their lives yearly to hazardous bedding factors – caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related suffocation among others. Yet, these agencies report infants still sleep in bedding that predispose them to sudden death risks and injuries among others.
In order to prevent sudden infant deaths that result from sleep-related risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had in 1992 warned all parents to ensure their babies sleep on their backs to prevent suffocation with soft bedding materials; and in 1994 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) started the Safe to Sleep campaign which also advocated that parents place infants on their backs to sleep.
According to Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an officer of CDC within the Division of Reproductive Health, “Parents have good intentions, but may not understand that blankets quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.”
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has dropped by 50% since 1992, but 7 out of every 100,000 live births have suffered from accidental suffocation in 2000, and this increased to 15.9 in 2010. Health researchers therefore recommend that babies be placed on their backs on a firm sleep surface, but without the interference of cuddly and soft objects like toys, crib bumpers, quilts, and other comforters.
Marian Williger of the NIH says that “Parents receive a lot of mixed messages. Relatives may give them quilts or fluffy blankets as presents for the new baby, and they feel obligated to use them. Or they see magazine photos of babies with potentially unsafe bedding items. But babies should be placed for sleep on a firm, safety-approved mattress and fitted sheet, without any other bedding.” The last word here is to parents: place your babies to sleep on their backs without the use of fluffy blankets and stuffed toys and other distractions when babies are laid to sleep.