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Sleeping on Sofa Can Be Deadly for Babies

Researchers uncover higher risk for SIDS, suffocation

MONDAY, Oct. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Of nearly 8,000 infant sleeping deaths in the United States, about 12 percent were sofa-related, with nearly three-quarters of the deaths occurring in newborns, according to research published online Oct. 13 in Pediatrics.

Jeffrey Colvin, M.D., J.D., a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues looked at 7,934 infant sleeping deaths reported over an eight-year period in 24 states. About half of these deaths occurred in an adult bed, and one in five occurred in a crib. But the researchers focused on the 1,024 sofa deaths.

Infants who died sleeping on a sofa were nearly twice as likely to die from suffocation or strangulation as babies who died sleeping elsewhere. The vast majority of the babies who died on sofas were 3 months old or younger. Babies who died on a sofa were over six times more likely to be sleeping in a new place compared to babies who died on adult beds or in their cribs. Babies who died while asleep on the sofa were also about twice as likely to be sleeping with someone else compared to babies who died sleeping in other places.

These babies were also more likely to have other risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other infant sleeping deaths than babies who died elsewhere. For example, the mothers of infants who died on sofas were about 40 percent more likely to have smoked during pregnancy than mothers of infants who died elsewhere. Infants who died in their sleep on the sofa were more likely to be white and found on their side compared to babies who died in other places. "Parents should always remember that SIDS can occur anytime -- during naps or overnight -- and can occur in any location, whether it's at home, in child care, or at a babysitter's or relative's house," Colvin told HealthDay. "The ABC's of safe sleep must always be followed: infants must always sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib, and Alone means no other people and no pillows, quilts, or other soft objects."

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