A new report suggests that allowing babies to sleep on sofas could potentially be deadly. The report seems to contradict an earlier report by JAMA pediatrics last year that suggested that sharing beds with a baby held the greatest threat of causing infant death. According to the report by researchers at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missourio, fully one in eight cases of crib death occur from infants having been places on sofas.
Almost 75 percent of the cases of these deaths occurred in infants of no older than three months of age. Babies who died while sleeping on sofas were more than six times more likely to be sleeping a new place, a fact that suggests that the deaths were accidental.
While it may surprise some to hear about this link, there are reasons for it. Babies who died on sofas often had another person sharing the sofa with them. Many of these babies were found face down, or on their sides. Reportedly, the report also found that infants placed on sofas were more likely to have moms who smoke. The report suggested that non-Hispanic whites babies accounted for 44.8 percent of these kinds of deaths. Overall, researchers discovered that 12.9 percentof the cases of sleep-related deaths among infants had occurred on sofas.
This report was not the first to link babies sleeping on sofas having potentially deadly consequences, particularly crib death. Yet it is unlikely to be the last such study to research what is known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There are an estimated 4,000 deaths from SIDS every year in the United States. The research was taken from the database from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths Case Reporting System, which compiled statistics over the course of the better part of a decades, from 2004 until 2012, and spanned 24 states.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends putting babies to sleep only on their backs, and on a relatively firm and flat surface. Babies should also sleep alone. Infants who sleep on the sofa were twice as likely to die of either strangulation or suffocation. Sofas tend to have uneven surfaces, which makes it easier for infants to roll onto their sides or stomach, increasing the chance of strangulation or suffocation.
The danger of putting babies to sleep on sofas might not seem immediately apparent, but it can be extremely dangerous, even for a short duration, such as a nap. Often, one parent would bring the baby to the sofa while the other parent was sleeping and, without meaning to, would fall asleep themselves. In over 90 percent of the cases, the babies that had died were sleeping with someone else present on the sofa with them.
Babies sleeping on sofas can have potentially deadly consequences, as this report shows. It was recommend that parents recognize the dangers of SIDS, and follow what were called the ABC’s of putting an infant to sleep: babies must always sleep Alone, they should sleep on their Back, and inside of a Crib. Furthermore, there should not be excessive pillows or other soft things inside of the crib with the sleeping baby.
By Charles Bordeau
Photo by Mike & Kala Larsen – Flickr