“My mom put me on my stomach when I was a baby, and I turned out fine.”
Yes, many of us turned out fine. We also survived our parents smoking while pregnant and just letting us roll around in the back seat of the car on long road trips. And while many of us came through without a scratch on us, others did not. But those choices were made because there was no definitive data that showed any harm would result.
Now there is. The data is in. Putting babies to sleep on their backs in their own cribs lessens the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).
Babies who are put to sleep on their sides are 2x more likely to suffer SUID. Those placed on their stomachs are 2.6x more likely. That’s a risk that’s not worth taking.
Fortunately, Nebraskans are getting the message.
*HP 2020 refers to the 10-year national objective set forth by Healthy People.
What about co-sleeping?
There will be parents who don’t want to hear this, but the numbers don’t lie. Co-sleeping is a risk. Infants who share beds are 2.9x more likely to experience SUID. Pillows, comforters and other soft, loose bedding take that risk to 5x normal. Unfortunately, this isn’t a message Nebraskans are taking as seriously as sleep positioning yet. While bed sharing is on the decline, more parents are engaging in this practice than stomach and side sleeping.
Maternal age and sleep choices
The data also shows us the older the mother is, the more likely she is to lay her baby to sleep on his back in a crib. Younger mothers are more likely to co-sleep and place babies on their sides or stomachs.
It’s data, not judgement.
We say this a lot at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. We understand that all families make different choices. All we are doing is reporting on which choices are statistically safer for babies, and what choices Nebraska parents are making.
All state-level data was compiled by the Nebraska Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), an ongoing, population-based survey of maternal behaviors and experiences before, during and after pregnancy. Nebraska PRAMS is a joint research project between the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find out more at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/prams.
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (2013, March 7). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/sids/.
Brixey S, Kopp B, Schlotthauer A, Collier A, & Corden T. (2011) Use of child death review to inform sudden unexplained infant death occuring in a large urban setting. Injury Prevention, 17(1), 23-27.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013) Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign. In NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS/Pages/sids.aspx
Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2011) SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics, 128(1341).