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Monday, July 14th, 2014
How safe is your baby’s sleep?
A new study examined the biggest sleep risks for babies under 1 year of age and found that younger and older infants faced different risk factors for sleep-related deaths. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 8,000 sleep-related infant deaths from 24 states between 2004 and 2012. Of those deaths, the study found that for infants up to 4 months of age, the biggest risk factor for sleep-related death was bed-sharing with either a parent or pet. In fact, in roughly 74 percent of the cases studied, the infants had been bed-sharing at the time of their death. About 50 percent of those cases happened when the child was sleeping in an adult bed or on a person.
But for infants ages 4 months to 1 year, the largest risk factor associated with death was different: rolling into objects, including blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, and bumpers, during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their care providers, but not in the same bed. The crib or bassinet should be within arm’s reach, free of any loose items, including toys and soft bedding, and covered with a fitted sheet.
Despite those safe-sleep recommendations, a whopping 73 percents of the 4,500 respondents in a recent American Baby magazine survey admitted they placed at least one item the crib with their baby.
Image: close-up portrait of a sleeping baby via Shutterstock
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AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, babies, baby sleep, infant sleep, Pediatrics, safe sleep, SIDS, sleep-related death | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, New Research
Friday, October 4th, 2013
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved new safety standards for cradles and bassinets, designed to prevent deaths and injuries that can happen in poorly constructed versions. More than 130 children died between 2007 and 2013 because of faulty bassinets and cradles, and the CPSC is aware of 426 incidents involving them. The new guidelines include:
- a clarification of the scope of the bassinet/cradle standard;
- a change to the pass/fail criterion for the mattress flatness test;
- an exemption from the mattress flatness requirement for bassinets that are less than 15 inches across;
- the addition of a removable bassinet bed stability requirement; and
- a change to the stability test procedure, requiring the use of a newborn CAMI dummy rather than an infant CAMI dummy.
The new standards, which define “bassinet or cradle” as a small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants, supported by free standing legs, a stationary frame or stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or swing relative to a stationary base. In a stationary (non-rocking or swinging) position, a bassinet/cradle is intended to have a sleep surface less than or equal to 10 degrees from horizontal. Bassinets and cradles are not meant to be used past the age of 5 months.
A major impetus behind the new guidelines is the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Check your own sleep safety habits by reading this article by Parents.com’s health director: The Safe-Sleep Rules Parents Break
Image: Bassinet, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
A growing number of families are bed-sharing, or having their infants and young children sleep in bed with their parents, despite warnings from health experts that the practice increases the chances that a baby could die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, or entanglement. A new government-funded study shows that bed-sharing has doubled over the past 17 years. More from USA Today:
The increase was most notable among African-American infants, according to the study reported Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Overall, the percentage of nighttime caregivers who reported that an infant usually shared a bed rose from 7% in 1993 to 14% in 2010. Among black infants the proportion increased from 21% to 39%. Among white infants, it rose from 5% to 9%. Among Hispanic infants, it rose from 13% to 21%.
“The disparity in nighttime habits has increased in recent years,” said lead author Eve Colson of the Yale University School of Medicine in a statement. “Because African-American infants are already at increased risk for SIDS, this trend is a cause for concern.”
Advice from physicians could significantly reduce infant bed-sharing, also known as co-sleeping, for all families, finds the survey of nearly 20,000 caregivers conducted by researchers with the National Institutes of Health and others. Caregivers who perceived physicians’ attitude as against sharing a bed were about 34% less likely to report that the infant usually shared a bed than were caregivers who received no advice.
To reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related dangers, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies to sleep in the same room as the caregiver, but not in the same bed.
Image: Bed-sharing family, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Nearly half of two-month-old babies who were part of a recent study were found to have flat spots on their heads. Researchers at Mount Royal University in Calgary believe that the culprit could be the widespread use of devices like swings and seats that hold babies in static positions, and the practice–recommended as the safest way to protect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)–of laying babies to sleep on their backs. More from NBC.com:
“The reason why we want to catch this early is because if we see children with flattened heads, sometimes there are changes in their facial features,” says Aliyah Mawji, a registered nurse at the university who led the study.
Pediatricians and pediatric nurses have noticed a big increase in the number of babies with flat spots on their heads – a condition known as positional plagiocephaly (“oblique head” in Greek).
Most experts say it’s due to advice to put babies to sleep on their backs – which in turn has slashed rates of sudden infant deaths syndrome or SIDS. But babies have big, heavy heads and weak little necks, which means their heads tend to roll to one side. Because their skulls are still soft, this can cause a flat spot….
…So [Mawji] and colleagues did a survey in four Calgary clinics where parents bring their babies – each in a different type of neighborhood. They looked at 440 babies aged 7 to 12 weeks. “We found that 46.6 percent actually had some form of plagiocephaly,” Mawji says.
A slight majority, 63 percent, had the flat spot on the right, and Mawji says that comes from the moment of birth.
“This is actually due to the birthing process itself,” Mawji says. “The majority of infants come out in such a way that their head is turned to the right.” This is in part because the mother’s pelvic bone and spine don’t move – they’re hard bones – so the more flexible baby ends up squished and twisted.
If a baby doesn’t move around enough, this flat spot can become more permanent. And if no one does anything, and the skull hardens, it could become really permanent.
Most of the cases Mawji saw were mild. And while she took care to get a range of family types into her study, she stresses that more research is needed to really show how common the issue is across the larger North American population. But her findings show it is probably more common than most people thought.
Experts recommend parents make a concerted effort to move their babies regularly, still putting them to sleep on their backs, but encouraging them to alternate which side of their head is against the mattress, seat, or swing.
Image: Sleeping baby, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Bed-sharing between parents and a baby is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk that an infant could die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. The risk, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open, is the same even in households where parents do not smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol–the factors that have been previously associated with SIDS. More from MedPageToday.com:
When neither parent smoked, and the baby was breastfed, less than 3-months old, and had no other major SIDS risk factors, the adjusted odds ratio for bed-sharing versus room-sharing was still 5.1 (2.3 to 11.4), reported Robert Carpenter PhD, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues, in the online journal BMJ Open.
The estimated absolute risk for bed-sharing compared with room-sharing was 0.23/1,000 live births (0.11 to 0.43) versus 0.08/1,000 live births, they added.
Nine out of 10 SIDS deaths that involved sleeping with a parent or caregiver would not have occurred in the absence of bed-sharing, the researchers concluded.
Advice on bed-sharing varies by country, but “there is general acceptance that sleeping with a baby is a risk factor for SIDS when sleeping … in a bed if the mother smokes and/or has taken alcohol,” the authors explained. But there’s less consensus on whether bed-sharing is still a problem with the absence of these risk factors.
The study combined five major case-control trials conducted in the U.K. and Europe, as well as in Australia and surrounding countries, that included 1,472 infant SIDS deaths and 4,679 controls, making it the largest study of SIDS risk factors ever reported, according to the authors.
Bed-sharing was defined as sleeping in the same bed with one or both parents, while room-sharing was defined as sleeping in a crib in the same room as a parent.
Updated 5/22/13 to remove the reference to “co-sleeping.” While “co-sleeping” and “bed-sharing” are sometimes used interchangeably, there are methods of co-sleeping that are safe, while studies such as the one discussed in this post show the dangers of bed-sharing.
Image: Baby in bed, via Shutterstock
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