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Banish the Blanket

January 12, 2015
OVParent

That doesn't mean letting babies freeze; safe sleepwear is advised, including one-piece sleepers, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

According to researchers, too many U.S. infants sleep with blankets, pillows or other unsafe bedding that may lead to suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome, despite guidelines recommending against the practice.

THE STUDY

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Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed annual telephone surveys involving a total of nearly 20,000 parents over 17 years. Almost seven out of eight used blankets or other soft bedding for their infants in 1993. That dropped sharply over the years, but by 2010, more than half still were doing so. The practice was most common among young mothers, blacks and Hispanics. The study was published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in December.

THE ISSUE

Accidental suffocation in bed, though uncommon, is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in infants. The rate doubled from 2000 to 2010, when about 640 infants died from accidental sleep-related suffocation, government data show.

While SIDS deaths have declined in recent years, they still totaled about 2,000 in 2010. For more than a decade, safety experts have warned parents against using soft bedding in infants' cribs, either over or under the baby. That includes blankets, quilts, cushiony crib bumpers, pillows and soft toys.

That doesn't mean letting babies freeze; safe sleepwear is advised, including one-piece sleepers, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.

 
 

 

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