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Mothers Heed Advice on Infant Supine Sleeping Position

Moms' own beliefs about infant comfort, choking also influence whether babies sleep on backs

WEDNESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Advice from health care providers, family and the media, and addressing concerns about infant comfort and choking are crucial to getting predominantly African-American mothers to place their infants in the recommended supine sleeping position, according to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Isabelle Von Kohorn, M.D., of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted interviews with 2,299 predominantly African-American mothers of infants younger than 8 months participating in the Women, Infants, and Children program in six geographically diverse cities. The interviews included questions on their infants' sleeping positions, advice received from family, health care providers and others, and their own beliefs about infant comfort and the dangers of infant choking.

The researchers found that a mother usually placed her infant in a supine position if she received advice to do so from one of the following sources: doctors (odds ratio [OR], 2.28), family (OR 1.6), the meda (OR 1.54) or nurses (OR 1.46). When more than one source offered this advice, the odds were significantly increased. Mothers who held the belief that infants were more comfortable on their backs also were more likely to place theirs in that position (OR 4.05), while those who believed the supine position posed a choking risk were less likely to (OR 0.36).

"Among predominantly African-American mothers, increasing advice for exclusively supine sleep and addressing concerns about infant comfort and choking remain critical to getting more infants on their back to sleep," the authors write.

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