To prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it has long been recommended that babies sleep on their backs. Recently, medical authorities have issued recommendations that suggest parents avoid placing soft things, such as blankets and stuffed animals, in the crib that could lead an infant to suffocate.
The Journal Pediatrics interviewed over 80 African American mothers, all of whom had a new baby at home, to study their infants sleeping habits. As it turns out, many of them were using blankets and cushions to keep the babies ‘comfortable’ because they thought this would help the baby to sleep better or to feel more loved.
Even though it seems they were acting in the best interest of the baby, authorities now say this is problematic because such items could actually be dangerous to babies. Doctors have started advising against placing these types of items in cribs, assure parents that babies will sleep just fine without them and won’t feel any less secure or comfortable.
We feel, however, that this whole discussion misses the mark really. Common sense dictates that parents be aware of all the ways young infants can suffocate or become entrapped. It is just as if not more important to address multiple causes of SIDS that produce safe sleep environment s for young infants. These include a positioning on the back, use of a firm sleep surface, breastfeeding, not letting infants sleep in the adult bed, getting routine immunizations, and complete elimination of exposure to tobacco smoke.
As mothers (and fathers) we know our first priority is to keep our children safe, so it’s extremely important to not just look in the trees, but think about the forest!