Most Parents Aren’t Putting Their Kids to Sleep Correctly

Putting their babies down for a nap isn’t something new parents second-guess too often. But new research says the bulk of moms and dads are putting their kids down to snooze the wrong way, and it could be deadly.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 44 percent of parents are putting their baby to sleep in the expert-recommended position, aka on their backs.

The study looked at 3,297 mothers from 32 different hospitals, and the researchers found that while most (77.3 percent) new moms usually put their babies to sleep on their back, many of them weren’t doing it every single time. When all was said and done, just about 44 percent of the group said they always followed the rule, while more than half of the moms in the study said that sometimes their babies slept on their sides or in the supine position.

If you’re wondering why laying babies on their back is the best way to put them down for a nap, there are plenty of facts to back up the claim.

Researchers first learned about the benefits of this sleeping position for babies over 20 years ago during the “Back to Sleep” campaign, which found that if infants were placed to sleep on their stomachs, their risk of dying from SIDS increased by at least twofold. Since parents started following these recommendations, the rate of SIDS-related deaths in the US has dropped by 53 percent.

The recent study also had another conclusion: new parents are likely to copy what others are doing, rather than sticking to recommendations. So next time you change your mind because someone from your mommy and me group does something differently, think again.

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