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Danger in Putting Your Baby to Sleep on a Sofa

May 15, 2016
Plain English Version

baby sleepingAbout one in eight cases of so­-called crib death happen among infants who have been put on sofas to sleep.

Research had shown that couches are hazardous for infants. In a new study, researchers compared deaths that occurred on sofas with those that happened in cribs, bassinets or beds.

The new study tries to show how the deaths happened. There are a number of reasons.

In the study, most parents shared the sofa with their infant. But sleep ­deprived parents may be more likely to fall asleep on the couch with their newborn. A doctor said, “There is a fallacy that if I’m awake or watching, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) won’t happen.”

The new study also said parents were more likely to lay their infants face down on a sofa. They were less likely to lay them face down in a crib. Pediatricians advise that infants should be put down on their backs to sleep. They should be alone and on a firm, flat surface without a pillow.

Further, some sofas slope toward the back cushions, making it easier for infants to get wedged where they cannot breathe.

Infants who died on sofas were more likely to have been found on their sides. “When babies end up with their face in a soft cushion, they may have trouble breathing,”

Another doctor said, “Many parents think that it is safe to put the baby between themselves and the back of the sofa so the child won’t roll off.”

She added, “When the unplanned and unexpected happens, the grief is beyond painful and endures for a lifetime. Infants need to sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for a nap or overnight. And it doesn’t matter if the parent is awake or asleep.”

Source: The New York Times October 13, 2014

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