My five-month-old baby has very little hair - and virtually none on a small patch on the back of her head. The reason for this rather unstylish bald spot is one of safety: per the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation, we've been putting her down on her back to sleep since she was born.
It turns out, though, that not all parents are taking the AAP's advice, which was designed to lower the risk of SIDS. A study in the Dec. issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that the rate of babies being placed on their backs reached a plateau eight years ago. From WebMD:
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's "Back to Sleep" campaign began in 1994 after compelling evidence showed that babies who slept on their backs had a much lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In the U.S., SIDS is the No. 1 cause of death in children under age 1.
Since the campaign began, the number of babies being put to sleep on their backs jumped from 25% to 70%. But the number of caregivers heeding the advice has not changed since 2001, say Yale School of Medicine researchers.
The study also found that parents were three times more likely to put their babies on their back if they were advised to do so by their doctors. More from WebMD:
The researchers urge all health care providers to make sure caregivers are told that it's safest to place infants to sleep exclusively on their backs, and that concerns about choking and discomfort are discussed. Doing so, they say, will help reduce the overall SIDS death rate.
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