Sigh, many parents still aren’t following #1 rule

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Claudia Boyd-Barrett

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We’ve been told for 23 years to always put babies to sleep on their backs. Yet incredibly many moms still aren’t heeding that advice, new research suggests.

Putting your baby to sleep on her back is the number 1 way to help reduce her risk of dying unexpectedly and inexplicably in her sleep, a tragedy known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as from suffocation and strangulation in bed. Health authorities have been urging parents to follow this basic rule since 1994, when the government launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign.

Fast forward to today and the rate of SIDS has declined significantly, down to about 3,700 cases in 2015. But the pace of decline has leveled off. Could it be because parents aren’t consistently following the Back to Sleep principle?

For the just-published study in the journal Pediatrics, researchers surveyed more than 3,000 moms with infants between 2 months and 6 months old. They asked the moms what position they put their babies to sleep in, and how frequently they put them in that position.

It’s disheartening to read that only 43 percent of the moms - less than half – said they put their babies to sleep on their backs all the time. Just over three quarters of the moms said they put their babies to sleep on their backs “usually,” but many moms also let their babies sleep on their tummies and sides.

Baby-sleeping-on-back&

Exactly why the Back to Sleep message isn’t getting through to everyone is unclear. The researchers noticed that African Americans and women without a high school diploma were more likely to put their babies on their tummies than moms of other ethnicities and those with higher education levels. Some moms also reported feeling they didn’t have control over how their babies were put to sleep, perhaps because of cultural pressures or because relatives or other caregivers were looking after the baby.

The study relied on moms’ own reporting, so the numbers could be a little off. But it’s pretty clear the Back to Sleep messengers still have work to do. Doctors can help by consistently telling parents the correct way to put their infant to sleep (women in the study who received this kind of input were more likely to follow it).

Meanwhile, you can avoid being part of the problem by brushing up on how to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS.

Are you surprised many parents aren’t consistently following the back-to-sleep rule? What do you think would help get more parents on board with this basic principle?

The post Sigh, many parents still aren’t following #1 rule appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.

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