Putting infants to sleep in their parents’ bed increases their risk of suffocation because of pillows, blankets or accidental overlay, say scientists and doctors. (iStock)

Study renews warnings about infant suffocation

A new study has found that accidental suffocation is a leading cause of injury deaths among children under one year of age in the United States, and 82 per cent of cases were attributed to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

Deaths often involved soft bedding, pillows or blankets, often in an adult bed. Some babies were covered by their mother or a sibling. And some get trapped between a mattress and a wall.

They may be a sweet comfort, but studies show plush toys are a danger for sleeping babies. (iStock)

Pamphlets, doctors, nurses explain sleep safety for babies

Canadian doctors and health authorities for years have advised parents on how to put their infants to sleep safely, as do the researchers in this study in the American Academy of Pediatrics. First on the list is to always place babies on their backs to sleep. Make sure they are sleeping on a firm surface, preferably in a crib that is certified to be safe. Do not put any soft materials in with them such as blankets, pillows, pumpers or soft toys. And baby can sleep in the same room but not the same bed as parents.

The authors of this study conclude safe sleep environments can reduce infant suffocation deaths and increased knowledge about suffocation can help create prevention strategies by targeting high-risk groups.

Doctors say baby is best on his or her back, in a crib certified safe, with nothing else except a fitted sheet over the mattress. (iStock)

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