Parents placing infants in unsafe sleep settings: study

November 16, 2011

Ann Arbor, MI – A majority of parents know that infants should sleep alone and on their backs, but still unintentionally place their babies in unsafe sleeping positions, according to a report (.pdf file) from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Researchers asked parents of children up to 3 years old about the sleep settings and positions for their children during infancy and what they believe to be safe sleep positions for infants. Results showed that many parents place their infants in the parents' bed or in cribs with soft bedding, both of which could lead to unintentional infant suffocation. Sudden unintentional infant death rates due to unsafe sleeping positions account for 12 fatalities per day, according to a UM press release.

The report also found:

  • 9 out of 10 parents believe (correctly) that placing infants on their back in a crib is considered safe.
  • 7 out of 10 parents said they have fallen asleep with their infant and, of this number, 30 percent reported doing so intentionally (an unsafe practice).
  • 17 percent of parents said it was safe for infants to sleep on their stomach in a position where they could not roll over (an unsafe practice).