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The Making of Medicine

Soft Bedding: Deadly for Babies

Soft bedding was responsible for almost 70% of deaths among babies who died from sleep-related suffocation between 2011 and 2014, a new study from our Dr. Fern Hauck reveals.

The second most common cause, responsible for 19% of deaths, was “overlay” by another person. 71% of these deaths occurred while the baby was sleeping in the same bed as a parent and/or sibling.

The third most common cause (12% of deaths) was “wedging,” in which babies become trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and a wall.

“These results are very significant, because these deaths – clearly due to suffocation – were all preventable,” Dr. Hauck told me. She offered new parents some important advice:

“These types of suffocation deaths can be prevented by following the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines. These include: placing infants to sleep in a safety-approved bassinet or crib in the caregivers’ room; not placing infants alone or with others on adult beds to sleep; keeping all soft objects out of the infant’s sleep area, including blankets and pillows (wearable blankets are preferred over loose blankets); and placing infants on their back to sleep.”

If you know new parents, please share.

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