- Babies who died in their sleep while being watched by babysitters or relatives were often placed in unsafe positions such as on their stomach or on the couch or adult bed.
- Through this study, the scientists are urging parents to educate anyone who takes care of their babies about safe sleep practices and the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- SIDS is one of the leading cause of death among babies between one month and a year of age.
Babies who had died due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), might have been placed in unsafe sleep positions, such as on their stomachs, or in unsafe locations, such as a couch, finds a new study. These dangerous mistakes are accidentally committed by babysitters and relatives when parents are not around.
Most of the babies who died during their sleep while being watched by someone other than parents often placed them in unsafe sleep positions.
Through the study, the researchers are trying to urge the parents to educate anyone who cares of their baby regarding the safe sleep practices and the huge risk of SIDS.
"If someone else - a babysitter, relative, or friend - is taking care of your baby, please make sure that they know to place your baby on the back in a crib and without any bedding," said Rachel Moon, an author of the study.
When the researchers reviewed more than 10,000 infant death reports, they had found that 1,375 of them occurred when the parents were not present.
Among these cases, they found that:
- Babysitters were less likely to place the babies in the correct sleeping positions- on their backs when the parents are not present.
- Babies under the care of the babysitters and relatives are more likely to be placed in hazardous sleep environments. Sleep spaces should be free of toys and soft bedding including blankets and sleep bumpers.
- Only 72.5 percent of licensed childcare providers actually placed the babies in a crib or bassinet and among these babysitters, relatives, and friends, this number was really only 49.1 percent, 29.4 percent, 27.1 percent.
- Infant deaths were most likely to occur when the babies were placed in an adult bed, even when they were under the supervision of friends and relatives.
Awareness That Had Been Raised To Prevent Sudden Infant Death
While previous studies have found that many licensed childcare providers placed infants on their stomachs to sleep, the scientists noted that that same group was now the most likely to place babies in the recommended sleep position and in cribs when not under parental supervision.
They believe that this could have been the result of the educational efforts of the Safe to Sleep national campaign and changes in state regulations.
"It's always best to discuss where and how your baby should sleep," Moon said. "You can't make assumptions that the person with whom your baby is staying will know what is safest."
- Elena Lagon, Rachel Y. Moon, Jeffrey D. Colvin,. Characteristics of Infant Deaths during Sleep While Under Nonparental Supervision, Journal of Pediatrics (2018).DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.01.051