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Unsafe Infant Sleep Practices Parents Should Avoid

If there is one thing that a lot of new parents have in common, it’s sleep deprivation. While there are several different tried-and-tested methods to help a new baby sleep throughout the night, there are some that parents are now being discouraged from using.

According to KKTV, common but unsafe sleep practices can lead to some very devastating results. Dr. Marc Bahan, a pediatrician at CMC Pediatrics Carolina Forest says that in many of these cases, fatalities are preventable. He explains that one infant dying of a needless suffocation death is one too many.

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Both experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCD) agree. Statistics show that nearly 3,500 babies in the U.S. die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. That’s why many pediatricians want parents to know that there are safe ways and unsafe ways of putting your baby to sleep as these deaths are completely preventable.

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Over half of the infant fatalities are caused by soft bedding that included pillows, blankets, and couch cushions. More often than not, many moms and dads leave their babies in an area of their home that they believe is safe, like on an over-sized bed or couch. However, the moment that a baby begins to start moving and rolling around, there’s a strong possibility that they might pull the items around them, which could possibly lead to suffocation.

Dr. Bahan says that in the 20 years that he has practiced in South Carolina, he’s seen about 40 cases of sudden infant deaths. Most of them were attributed to unsafe sleep practices that could have easily been prevented by parents.

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Bahan further explained, "The highest risk is zero to six months, but up to nine months they're still at significant risk. What happens is the infant's respiratory centers are fairly immature and their upper body strength is fairly weak. For us, when we fall asleep, sometimes your pillow's a little too much over, but somehow, we sleep and move our head around. Infants actually fall asleep a little bit too much and can't lift themselves up. So, it's pretty similar to holding a pillow over a baby's head.”

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With that said, babies are safest when they sleep alone. Parents are advised to keep their child in a crib while also making sure that there are no items like stuffed animals, toys, blankets or bumpers in the crib. If a baby is sleeping on their back, they are less likely to get their head stuck on the side of the bed or underneath the mattress.

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