A new US-based study, published in the journal Paediatrics, has said that mothers do not put their babies to sleep in a safe position. The safest way to put an infant to sleep is to put them on their backs, on a mattress fitted with a tight sheet and no blankets or pillows.

The new study shows that only 44.7 per cent of mothers put their babies to sleep this way. 77.3 per cent said that they put their babies to sleep in this method ‘usually’, but not all the time.

Mothers, who did not want to put their babies to sleep on their backs, said that they believed this position was too uncomfortable, and could possibly lead to choking. “These beliefs could be from lack of education, as well as cultural and familial influences,” said Dr. Robin Jacobson, a paediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Health.

African American mothers were most likely to put their babies to sleep on their stomachs.

The study urges the media and advertisers to display images of safe sleeping practices. It also advises doctors to tell parents how to put their babies to sleep

“What we found was that people intended to put their baby on their back but didn’t always do that,” said Dr Eve Colson, professor of paediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, and co-author of the study.

SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, is a common cause of death for babies under the age of one. The exact cause of it is unknown.

The most effective way of reducing the risk of SIDS is to put a baby on his or her back when sleeping. It is also encouraged to sleep with your infant for at least the first six months.

We need to urge doctors and the media in India to inform mothers about SIDS, and the effective ways to prevent them. 

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