It Takes a Village to Promote Infant Sleep Safety
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The expression, "It takes a village to raise a child," certainly rings true when it comes to infant sleep safety.
Since 1994, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that babies sleep on their backs to avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, a new survey shows that fewer than half of mothers are consistently following the recommendation - even though more than half say it's a message they're hearing from their doctors.
Dr. Mike Gittelman, president-elect of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said pointing fingers isn't the solution.
"The blame game never seems to work," he said. "We have a problem: We have infant mortality and we have deaths to children. We need to stop that - and there are ways to go about doing that, and that is to change the social norm. It's to make sure that people are practicing the appropriate behaviors."
The research from the AAP suggested clear and consistent messaging from medical providers about the dangers of SIDS or suffocation when babies sleep on their stomachs or sides. It's also recommended that parents insist that other caregivers support their safe-sleep practices.
Safety education is an uphill battle for pediatricians, said Gittelman, as they compete with mixed parenting messages on the internet and old-school mentalities.
"How many times have you heard, 'When I was young, we had seven kids in the back of the station wagon, we didn't have seat belts, we were bouncing all around, no one got hurt.' Yeah, because you were lucky," he said. "But if you were in a collision, you could have gotten seriously hurt, and now we know that seat belts significantly prevent the risk of injury and death."
Gittelman noted that 3,500 infant deaths a year are related to unsafe sleep in the United States. He advised parents to learn the risks and follow the best behaviors for their children's health.
"Whenever they interview a family after they've had an injury," he said, "they say, 'I wish I knew this. Why didn't anyone tell me?' Well, we need to make sure everyone knows all of the risks, so they're not the ones that are saying, 'I wish this didn't happen to me.' "
Deaths from SIDS were cut in half over the past two decades, but it's still a leading cause of infant mortality. Ohio's infant mortality rate of more than 7 percent is higher than the national rate.
The study is online at pediatrics.aapublications.org.
This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.
get more stories like this via email
Nevada is set to lose 8% of its Colorado River water allotment next year because of perilously low water levels at Lakes Mead and Powell caused by a 2…
Although President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, many are hoping he will declare a climate emergency to provide further …
The Bureau of Land Management is kicking off its planning process for managing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with several public hearing…
The midterm elections are less than three months away, and in Iowa, recruiting continues for those interested in helping at polling sites, where the …
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defends and expands his call to have military veterans bypass the teacher certification process to become educators…
President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law Tuesday, providing a means for making prescription drug prices more affordable in the …
By Andrew Kuder / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. Sam Lawrence is running for …
Whether state courts are allowed to review the validity of redistricting by state legislatures is at the heart of a case to be considered by the U.S…