A new study has revealed that more than one third of photos in women-oriented magazines portray infants in unsafe sleeping positions; positions that may possibly increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant during sleep.
The study also found that two-thirds of sleep environments depicted in these magazines were also unsafe.
The study, led by SIDS researchers Rachel Moon, MD, a pediatrician, and Brandi Joyner at Children's National Medical Center, analyzed pictures of sleeping infants in 24 magazines with wide circulation among 20- to 40-year-old women.
The researchers evaluated pictures for sleep positions, including whether or not the baby was placed on its side or stomach rather than on its back, as well as hazards in infant sleeping environments, including soft bedding.
The study reviewed photos in both articles and advertisements.
"There are major discrepancies between what doctors recommend to prevent sudden infant death syndrome and what moms may see in mainstream media," said Dr. Moon.
"The most important thing for moms to realize is that what they see in magazines may not be what's best for their baby in real life."
To decrease the risk of SIDS, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that babies be placed on their backs when sleeping, on a separate sleep surface from their parents, without blankets, pillows, or other soft bedding.
The study has been published in the journal Paediatrics.