NIH, CDC Study Shows Unsafe Infant Bedding Use Still Common

0110-Baby Pillows Hazardous Situation
This medical examiner re-creation shows a hazardous situation. Babies should not be placed to sleep on anything pillow-like or in a crib filled with items. Bare is Best. Courtesy by CPSC.gov

Nearly 55 percent of U.S. infants are placed to sleep with bedding that increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, despite recommendations against the practice, report researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions.

Safety Information

Soft objects and loose bedding — such as thick blankets, quilts, and pillows — can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk, according to the NIH’s Safe to Sleep campaign. Soft bedding has also been shown to increase the risk of SIDS Infants should be placed to sleep alone, on their backs, on a firm sleep surface, such as in a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet. Soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, quilts, comforters and loose bedding should be kept out of the baby’s sleep area.

Based on responses from nearly 20,000 caregivers, the researchers reported that, although such potentially unsafe bedding use declined from 85.9 percent in 1993-1995, it still remained high, at 54.7 percent, in 2008-2010.

“Parents have good intentions but may not understand that blankets, quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.”

Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Senior Scientist, CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health in Atlanta

“Parents have good intentions but may not understand that blankets, quilts and pillows increase a baby’s risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation,” said the study’s first author, Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior scientist in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health in Atlanta.

The current study is an analysis of data from the National Infant Sleep Position Study (NISP), which collected information on the influence of infant sleep position and other safe sleep recommendations on infant care practices. Funded by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the survey collected information by telephone from a random sample of more than 1,000 caregivers in U.S. households from 1992-2010.

 Updated: December 2, 2014

Nearly 55 Percent of U.S. Infants Sleep with Potentially Unsafe Bedding Despite Warnings
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