The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend parents take a few important steps to keep babies safe while sleeping, including placing infants to sleep on their backs, avoiding soft bedding, and sharing a room with the infant, but not bed-sharing.

The study, released in today’s issue of Pediatrics, surveyed mothers and found that most (78%) were putting their babies to sleep on their back, but far fewer were following the other recommendations. Only 57% were both room-sharing and not bed-sharing. Only 42% percent were avoiding soft bedding where the baby was sleeping, and just 32% were using a separate, approved sleep surface.

Going against these recommendations puts babies at higher risk for suffocation, entrapment or strangulation. According to the AAP, there are about 3,500 infant deaths per year with sleep-related causes.

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