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Physician advice a key motivator in baby's sleep position
Date:12/11/2009

e as high as among white and Hispanic infants.

For the current study, researchers analyzed data obtained from the National Infant Sleep Position Study from 1993 to 2007 to learn which factors influence a caregiver's decision whether to follow the recommendation. The national phone study, which is conducted annually, involves interviewing caregivers of infants born within the past seven months. More than 1,000 interviews were conducted each year.

The researchers found that while the number of babies placed to sleep on their backs increased substantially between 1993 and 2001, this number has since stabilized. In addition, the study showed that between 2003 and 2007 only about 54 percent of study participants reported that a physician advised them to only put their infants to sleep on their backs.

Dr. Lister said families who adhered to the "Back to Sleep" recommendation were unlikely to express concerns about their baby choking or being uncomfortable sleeping in that position. These families were more likely, though, to report that a physician recommended the practice as the only option.

The study also found that African-American infants are less likely to be placed to sleep on their backs than either Hispanics or whites. "We estimate that there would have been at least 700 fewer deaths of African-American infants over a five-year period if they were placed on their backs to sleep at the same rate as white infants," Dr. Lister said.

Dr. Lister said the findings indicate that a possible solution to further reducing the rate of SIDS depends on physicians promoting the "Back to Sleep" recommendation as the only option, while also addressing any potential concerns about choking and comfort.

"Physicians need to be proactive by consistently telling parents and caregivers that infants must always be placed on their backs and on a firm mattress to sleep, even for naps," Dr. Lister said. "They must also continue to
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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