News | Published May 29, 2014

Many parents still not following safe infant sleeping practices

Despite the launch of the “Back to Sleep” campaign more than 20 years ago, designed to remind parents to place babies on their backs to sleep, a significant number of babies are still placed on their stomachs. In some states, it is estimated that 50 percent of babies are not placed on their backs to sleep.

SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the leading cause of death among infants between one month and one year of age. Despite a 50 percent decrease in the rate of SIDS since the inception of the “Back to Sleep” campaign, SIDS continues to be an issue. Although the precise cause of SIDS remains unknown, practicing safe sleeping habits, including placing babies on their back to sleep can reduce the risk of SIDS substantially.

Some parents worry that their baby will get a flat spot on their heads from sleeping on his or her back. This can be prevented by repositioning the baby’s head while he or she is sleeping and allowing them to spend supervised time on their stomachs during the day. Also, swaddling can help a baby sleep longer if he or she tends to flail and wake him or herself when sleeping on his or her back.