When data on 7,934 sudden infant deaths in 24 states was analyzed by Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, and his colleagues, they discovered that as many as one in eight deaths was among infants who were placed on sofas to sleep. While previous research had shown that couches were particularly hazardous for infants, the new analysis, which was published recently in Pediatrics, identified some significant factors behind the infant deaths.
According to Barbara Ostfeld, a professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who was involved in the study, putting an infant to sleep on a sofa doesn’t pose just one risk, when compared to other sleeping environments, but a number of risks.
Researchers found that parents who put their babies down to sleep on a sofa were more likely to put them face down, instead of on their backs, as recommended by pediatricians.
They also discovered that most parents shared the sofa with the infant they had placed there, with the belief that they were keeping a close eye on the baby. However, sleep-deprived parents may be more likely to fall asleep with the newborns. When parents fall asleep, the infant can become wedged between or against cushions or with their faces against a parent or the back of the sofa where they may have trouble breathing.
According to Dr. Colvin, the best practice for parents to continue to follow in putting an infant to sleep is to place them on their backs, alone and on a firm, flat surface without pillows.
Source: New York Times