The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) says unsafe bedding is still a major factor that leads to unexpected infant deaths.
A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, and other sleep surfaces outside of a crib are the leading causes of accidental suffocation among babies 4 months old and younger.
The research included 4,929 cases of sudden unexpected infant death—the cases dated back to 2011 and up to 2017. Soft or cushioned bedding was associated with 72 percent of the cases. In addition, the study also shared that younger infants cannot move away from suffocation hazards, resulting in their ability to breathe being blocked.
“We’re also talking about infants being placed on surfaces other than a bassinet or crib — a couch, a recliner, or an adult bed,” said the study’s author, Sharyn Parks, senior epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health. “We’re seeing babies who are dying in all of those circumstances.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents plane their infants on their backs on a firm, flat surface. It says infants should not have any pillows, blankets, toys, or crib bumpers where they sleep. “Also, if possible, keep the baby’s crib in the caregiver’s bedroom for at least six months, preferably until the baby is one year old,” Parks said.