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, June 25th, 2013
Bumper pads, the plush liners that are intended to prevent infants from bumping their heads on their wooden cribs, will be banned in the state of Maryland starting Friday. The state cited safety concerns, including a suffocation risk, and lack of measurable benefits in making its rule. The Associated Press has more:
Maryland’s health department notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health all advise against their use.
The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.
The ban doesn’t apply to vertical bumpers that wrap tightly around each crib rail or mesh crib liners, but the health department doesn’t endorse them.
For more information on crib safety click here.
Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock
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Monday, November 26th, 2012
Federal officials from two agencies are warning that “baby sleep positioners,” mat- or wedge-shaped bolsters that are supposed to encourage babies to sleep on their backs, are actually quite dangerous and are responsible for at least 13 deaths in the past 15 years. The New York Times has more:
“We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners,” Inez Tenenbaum, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement.
The sleep positioner devices come primarily in two forms. One is a flat mat with soft bolsters on each side. The other, known as a wedge-style positioner, looks very similar but has an incline, keeping a child in a very slight upright position.
Makers of the devices claim that by keeping infants in a specific position as they sleep, they can prevent several conditions, including acid reflux and flat head syndrome, a deformation caused by pressure on one part of the skull. Many are also marketed to parents as a way to help reduce a child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, which kills thousands of babies every year, most between the ages of 2 months and 4 months.
But the devices have never been shown in studies to prevent SIDS, and they may actually raise the likelihood of sudden infant death, officials say. One of the leading risk factors for sudden infant death is placing a baby on his or her stomach at bedtime, and health officials have routinely warned parents to lay babies on their backs. They even initiated a “Back to Sleep” campaign in the 1990s, which led to a sharp reduction in sudden infant deaths.
With the positioner devices, if an infant rolls onto the stomach, the child’s mouth and nose can press up against a bolster or some other part of the device, leading to suffocation. Even if placed on the back, a child can move up or down in the positioner, “entrapping its face against a bolster or becoming trapped between the positioner and the crib side,” Gail Gantt, a nurse consultant with the Food and Drug Administration, said in an e-mail. Or the child might scoot down the wedge in a way that causes the child’s mouth and nose to press into the device.
Image: Sleeping baby, via Shutterstock
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Friday, September 9th, 2011
This week the Chicago City Council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of crib bumper pads after learning they may have played a role in the deaths of a least a dozen babies, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Many families think of bumper pads as an essential way to keep babies cozy in the crib, but “babies can lack the motor skills and strength to turn their heads if they roll against something that blocks their breathing,” The Tribune said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission already recommends that parents keep anything soft—such as pillows, quilts, and “pillow-like bumper pads,”—out of a baby’s bed to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But Nancy Maruyama, of SIDS of Illinois, pointed out that parents see bumper pads in stores, and think “if (stores) sell it, it must be safe,” she told the Tribune.
The state of Maryland is considering a similar ban, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is studying the safety of bumper pads.
Chicago Aldermen were motivated by stories in The Chicago Tribune in March. The paper reported that federal regulators investigated at least a dozen cases where crib bumpers appeared to play a role in a baby’s death, but investigators ultimately said it wasn’t clear the pads were to blame. So reporters took a closer look at records about the deaths. From the Tribune:
[I]n reviewing the agency’s own records, the Tribune found that in many of those cases, babies who died had their faces pressed into bumper pads.
The Tribune also found at least 17 additional cases in which the safety agency did not investigate a child’s death even though the agency had reports on file suggesting bumper pads played roles in the fatalities.
The Chicago bumper pad ban will take effect in about seven months.
(image via: http://kidsindanger.blogspot.com)
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