to target messaging," Moon said.
In the meantime, parents are urged to follow the recommendations that doctors have been issuing for years to limit SIDS deaths:
- Always place babies on their backs to sleep. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics issued this recommendation in 1992, SIDS deaths have dropped by more than half, according to the Nemours Foundation.
- Place babies on a firm sleeping surface with a tightly fitted sheet. Don't allow a baby to sleep on a pillow, quilt or other soft surface.
- Dress babies in light clothing for sleep, and keep the room at a temperature that adults would find comfortable.
- Give babies a pacifier when putting them down to sleep. Studies have found that babies who use pacifiers are less likely to die of SIDS. "We think it may change the baby's arousal threshold, or the way the baby breathes," Moon said.
These are guidelines that parents should follow regardless of whether they believe their child may suffer from a serotonin deficiency, Moon added.
"Babies do suffocate," she said. "Babies do get trapped between mattresses and other things. So these safe-sleep recommendations will help protect against those things as well."
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more on SIDS.
For more on SIDS, read about one mother's experience.
SOURCES: Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., associate chief, division of general pediatrics and community health, Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; Laura Reno, vice president, public affairs, First Candle, Baltimore
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