Health Watch: Keeping Sleeping Babies Safe

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - If you are a parent, chances are you have heard of 'Back to Sleep' or 'the A-B-C's of infant sleeping'.
Rhiannon Walker explores the reasons behind these sleep campaigns in this week's Health Watch.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the leading cause of death in babies under the age of one in the United States.
Current recommendations call for babies to be placed on their back at all times to lessen the risk of SIDS.
However, according to a report from the CDC, not all babies are placed to sleep on their back every time.
Pediatrician Eva Love says that not placing a baby on their back to sleep is dangerous.

Eva Love; Peditrician at Cleveland Clinic>>"Studies have shown that when children are not consistently placed on their back and are switched from being on their back to either a side or being on their belly, they're actually at an increased risk for adverse consequences."

The CDC report says that there are more than three thousand sleep-related deaths among infants each year in the US.
A recent survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that less than half of moms place their baby on their back to sleep every time.
Of the more than three thousand mothers that were surveyed, three-quarters reported that they intended to place their babies to sleep on their back every time, however, less than half actually did.
Researchers noted that babies who had changes in position were at the most risk as they were prone to rolling onto their stomachs, putting them at an increased risk for suffocation.
Doctor Love says that the best way to remember the guidelines is to think A-B-C.
This means that a baby should be place Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib.
She says that just because specialty baby stores sell items for the crib such as bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals, it doesn't mean that they are safe.
Doctor Love says that baby's crib should have nothing more than a mattress and a fitted sheet.
She also says that parents need to communicate the side sleep guidelines to everyone who cares for their child and make sure they abide by them each and every time.

Eva Love; Peditrician at Cleveland Clinic>>"It's important to communicate that, because different people have different notions based on what they think is best or what they grew up with, what is defined as safe sleep. And if we can just review that ABC mnemonic with them, then we know we'll be able to carry on that message."

Doctor Love also points out that the safest place for baby to sleep is in a crib that meets federal safety standards.
Items such as bassinettes, Moses baskets, and family heirlooms are not regulated and are not recommended for safe sleep.
For this week's Health Watch, I'm Rhiannon Walker.