Pillow Use and SIDS
By James Hunt
Studies have shown that soft bedding should not be placed under infants, regardless of the way they are placed to sleep because it has the potential to cover their noses and mouths, blocking their airways. This is true for pillows as well.
Of 206 cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) the study examined to discover what factors were associated with the cause of death, about 30 percent of the infants were found with their noses and mouths covered by soft bedding.
The majority of the infants in the study were placed on their stomachs to sleep, and were found lying face down on top of pillows, comforters or other bedding with enough softness to allow a pocket to form beneath the infant’s head. Pillows, which were often adult-sized, and comforters were usually placed beneath the infant for added comfort.
In spite of the original sleep position, the researchers established soft bedding to be unsafe. Nine infants in the study had turned from either their backs or sides onto their stomachs, and were found with their airways covered.
Always use a firm crib mattress for your baby, ensuring that there is no space between the mattress and the crib rails for the baby to get caught in. Do not place soft, fluffy products, such as pillows, comforters or sheepskins under infants while they sleep or nap. Place healthy infants on their backs to sleep, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Studies have shown that placing babies on their back to sleep may reduce the risk of SIDS by nearly fifty percent. Though there is no sure way to keep your baby safe, following the advice of your pediatrician is the best route to go. Never give an infant under 1 year of age a pillow to sleep with, and ask your doctor before you begin use of a pillow with your baby.
James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest.
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