Speed Reads

safety matters

Study finds that more than 50 percent of infants sleep with unsafe bedding

Researchers have a warning for parents: Too many infants in the United States are still sleeping with dangerous bedding, which could lead to suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and safety experts have told parents that babies should not sleep with soft bedding, including pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers. For a study published Monday in Pediatrics, researchers from the NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed telephone surveys of 20,000 parents dating back to 1993, and found that back then, almost 7 out of 8 used blankets on their infants. By 2010, more than half were still doing so, with the practice most common among young mothers, blacks, and Hispanics, The Associated Press reports.

While it is uncommon for babies to suffocate in bed, that is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in infants. In 2010, 2,000 died from SIDS, and the accidental sleep-related suffocation rate doubled from 2000 to 2010, when 640 infants died. To prevent this from happening, experts say to put babies to bed in one-piece sleepers and control the temperature in the room so it is comfortable.