A study of video-recorded infant sleep patterns found that most parents placed their babies in unsafe sleep environments associated with increased risks of death.
For the study, “Nocturnal Video Assessment of Infant Sleep Environments,” in the September 2016 Pediatrics (published online today), researchers video-recorded infants at ages 1, 3, and 6 months within family homes.
Most parents, even when aware of being recorded, placed the infants in environments with established risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths, including positioning the children on their sides or stomachs; soft sleep surface; loose bedding; or bed-sharing. Among the 167 infants enrolled in the study, those who were moved in the middle of the night were even more likely to be placed in a sleep environment that posed hazards.
Efforts to educate the public about risk factors began in 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended always placing babies on their backs for sleep, followed by subsequent advisories concerning the dangers of loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads and sleep positioners. The findings suggest the need to improve public education efforts about safe sleep practices.