While doctors have discouraged parents from letting their child sleep anywhere but on the firm surface of a crib or bassinet, researchers have found, using new data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths Case Reporting System, that sofa deaths account for nearly one in every eight SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.
"Sofas don't even come to mind when people think of places where infants sleep," Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, study co-author and pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., told HealthDay. "The proportion was much, much higher than I ever could have guessed."
Sofas have soft cushions that can lead to SIDS and suffocation or strangulation. And the study found that those reported deaths were linked to surface sharing, sleeping on their side, changing sleep location and experiencing prenatal tobacco exposure. In fact, the study stated that "parents were more likely to lay their infants face down on a sofa than, for instance, face down in a crib," The New York Times reported.
Researchers even stressed that babies can experiences SIDS when a parent is watching them. There's a "fallacy that if I'm awake or watching, SIDS won't happen," Dr. Colvin said in the Times.
New baby in the house? Read up on these other prevention methods to protect your baby from SIDS.
Photo of baby sleeping courtesy of Shutterstock.