Stock photos of infants may show unsafe sleep practices: study

San Diego – Images of sleeping infants used in magazines and on the internet often show the babies in unsafe positions and environments, potentially confusing parents and resulting in practices that can put children at risk, according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting on April 25.

Only about 16 percent of stock photos and 29 percent of magazine photos showed sleep environments deemed safe by American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. Seventeen percent of magazine images showed babies sleeping alongside another person, and one-third depicted babies sleeping on their stomachs.

The AAP recommends that parents put babies on their back to sleep to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. The academy also urges parents to avoid putting soft objects – such as pillows and blankets – in cribs and not letting others share the bed.