Wellness News 8-2
Sunday, February 15, 2009

By Vanessa Loy

(BPRW) Stuffed toys, fluffy blankets and soft pillows may look like just the thing to put in a child’s nursery room, but they can spell trouble for a baby less than 12 months old. Soft bedding objects run the risk of suffocation by covering a baby’s head and preventing normal breathing, especially during sleep time. In fact, improper sleeping habits are one of the major risk factors in children falling victim to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Besides having appropriate crib bedding, a baby’s position while sleeping is also important. According to a March 1, 2004 Reuters news report, black infants have more than twice the risk as white infants of dying from SIDS. This may be in part because of babies’ sleeping positions, because babies that sleep on their stomachs or sides instead of on their backs can easily suffocate. In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a public recommendation that babies be placed to sleep on their backs, and SIDS deaths per 100,000 children has decreased by 40 percent since then.

The important part is reaching parents, expectant parents and caregivers within the black community with the message of safe sleeping. Babies should always sleep on their backs in a firm mattress with no soft toys or bedding in a crib that meets safety regulations. Use warm clothing rather than a blanket to keep your baby warm in cold weather, and save the toys for the baby’s waking hours. Taking these precautions will give a good night’s sleep to your baby and to your peace of mind.


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