Parents don’t always follow sleep guidelines

For 23 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has counseled parents to put infants to bed on their backs. However, a new study finds that only 44% of U.S. mothers intend to use this method and actually do so consistently.

baby sleeping parents

The Safe to Sleep campaign recommends placing infants on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. The study, co-authored by Eve Colson, professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and published in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that of 3,297 mothers surveyed, 77% said they usually put their babies to sleep on their backs but not always.

“What was new and hadn’t been explored before was this idea of what people intend to do versus what they actually do,” Colson said in an Aug. 21 article on

The study also found that when parents got advice from their doctor that was consistent with the guidelines they were more likely to follow the recommendations. An editorial that accompanied the study noted that educating parents’ friends and families and encouraging the media to show safe sleep practices also would help.

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