The suffocation rate for babies doubles as parents don’t listen to the experts

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The suffocation rate for babies doubles as parents don't listen to the experts
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Quinn Dombrowski

While our site is focused generally on positive news, this one is too important. The suffocation rate for babies has more than doubled for the time period between 1999 and 2015, research shows.

The data is coming from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US, Reuters reports.  One of the main reason for this is that parents still neglect the advice of the experts.

It turns out more and more parents share beds with their infants. This is one of the biggest risks for the so-called SIDS.

As a result, arom 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for babies younger than 1 year climbed from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 U.S. infants, researchers report in Pediatrics. In 2015 alone, this translated into 1,100 infant deaths that were entirely preventable. The majority of these suffocation fatalities occurred while babies were in bed, Reuters notes.

“It may be that parents are not following `safe sleep’ recommendations to place infants in beds without stuffed animals, soft blankets, pillows, and other items that could cause suffocation,” said study co-author David Schwebel of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“It may also be that we have dangerous items on the market and in our homes, and they need to be removed,” Schwebel said by email to Reuters.

The advices, once again

As always, the experts have the same advices: babies should sleep in a separate crib. That crib must be empty from toys. If the baby can’t fall asleep without a favorite toy or a stuffed animal around, keep the toy in the crib until the baby falls asleep. Then remove the toy from the crib.

Babies should also sleep with no blanket. Instead, they should wear comfy and warm enough clothes. No pillows in the crib either. No loose bedding, too.

“The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet or play yard in the same room with the parents, not in the same bed,” Lori Feldman-Winter said., who isn’t involved in the study.

Parents should also know that bed sharing is most dangerous for newborns less than 4 months old, preemies and underweight infants. If babies were exposed to tobacco during or after pregnancy, this also increases the risks.

“They [parents] need to know that the evidence shows that sleeping in the same bed is hazardous, and while there may be things that can be recommended to make this sleeping arrangement safe, we don’t have the studies or data to determine what they are,” Feldman-Winter cautioned.  So, taking the appropriate steps is really, really important.