SIDS Prevention Technique on the Rise

A study by Jefferson researchers shows more parents are placing their babies to sleep on their backs and sides to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The results of the study are published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

“These are important findings,” says Eric Gibson, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College and lead author of the study.“It says parents are concerned about SIDS and are listening to the latest information to keep their newborns safe.”

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that infants sleep on their backs or sides. A national campaign by the U.S. government,the AAP and other health organizations is currently under way to educate health professionals and parents on the benefits of back and side infant sleep positions. This report was performed to examine the direct response of families to the AAP's recommendation.

Researchers surveyed 760 parents of infants aged from 1 month to 6 months about sleep position and found 59 percent place their infants on their backs or sides to sleep, an increase of more than 20 percent. Parents reported the impetus for changing position came from family or the media, rather than from healthcare professionals.

“This study tells us people are listening to the recommendation, but it also means health professionals need to increase their role in providing sleep position guidance,” says Dr. Gibson.

As the proportion of the population positioning their infants side or supine for sleep increases, researchers are now examining the effect on the sudden infant death syndrome rate. SIDS remains the number one cause of death in the United States for babies under the age of 1 year.

Source: JeffNEWS, August 1, 1995

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