Despite declines, use of potentially hazardous bedding continues to be widespread with more than half of parents placing their babies in beds with pillows, quilts, comforters and other loose bedding. A new study published this week in Pediatrics, notes the need for increased education around this key risk factor for sleep-related deaths, the leading cause of infant mortality after the first month of life.
Prevalence was highest for infants of teen-aged mothers (83.5%) and lowest for infants born at term (55.6%). Bedding use was also frequently reported among infants sleeping in adult beds, on their sides, and on a shared surface. The report is based on an analysis of data from the National Infant Sleep Position Study, a survey based on self-report by parents.
Use of bedding declined from an average of 85.9% in 1993–1995 to 54.7% in 2008–2010. Depending on socio-demographic characteristics, this practice ranged from 46% to 77% during 2007 to 2010. The lowest prevalence occurred in infants with college-educated mothers and the highest occurred in infants with teenaged mothers; however, nearly half of college-educated mothers put their infants to bed with some type of bedding. Infants with black or Hispanic mothers were also at higher risk.