Use of Unsafe Bedding Still Widespread; Opportunity for Education of New Parents

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.

baby_safe_sleepPrevalence 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.