Infants Still Have Blankets Despite Risks


According to a recent study, 55 percent of infants still have blankets and other soft bedding when they sleep despite the risks. Parents are putting their children at higher risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) due to the use of the bedding.

Researchers say that parents need to be more informed about the risks, despite there being 17 years of data showing the risks. Many parents ignore the recommendations from experts when it comes to putting their infants to bed.

The study involved data collected from almost 20,000 parents through telephone surveys. They were asked about whether they used blankets and soft bedding for their babies in 1993. Almost all parents said that they did, with the rate being at seven parents out of eight. They were then asked about the use of the blankets in 2010, and the figures dropped considerably. However, over half of all parents were putting their children at risk. Young, Hispanic and black mothers were found to be the ones who were most likely to use the bedding.

Researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health analyzed the surveys. The study was then published in Pediatrics on Monday.

For many years, researchers have looked for a reason for SIDS. It is distressing, but there is still little understood about the syndrome. One of the issues is the use of bedding. It can lead to accidental suffocation, and is also the main reason for injury-related deaths for young babies. Despite all the risks, infants still have blankets in their beds and researchers find this alarming.

There are other options for bedding. One of the best options is to keep the room at a comfortable temperature, but there are now sleep suits and bags designed for infants to sleep safely. They pop at the shoulders, and there is little risk of the babies slipping down and covering their faces.

SIDS deaths have declined over recent years, but there are still deaths attributed to it. In 2010, about 2,000 deaths were attributed to the syndrome. Suffocation also doubled in the decade between 2000 and 2010, where 640 babies died from suffocation during their sleep.

Researchers have warned over the years that all soft bedding should be avoided. This includes blankets and pillows; anything over or under the infant. Cushion crib bumpers and soft toys are also not recommended by the experts, but many parents still use them. Parents are also advised to not let their children sleep on couches or on waterbeds, and avoid co-sleeping.

CDC Senior Scientist Carrie K. Shapiro-Medoza acknowledged that the blankets and quilts are not used maliciously. Parents believe that they are doing right to avoid their babies getting cold during the night. However, the good intentions have deadly risks, and parents need to be aware of them. The study co-author Marian Willinger stated that these types of infant deaths are “unnecessary” due to all the research that is currently out there. It is tragic that parents are ignoring the advice and still giving infants blankets despite all the risks.

By Alexandria Ingham


National Institutes of Health


New York Times

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