spass/ShutterstockAlthough you’d like to think there’s nowhere safer for your baby than right in your arms, even the most careful parents make these incredibly dangerous parenting moves.
A recent survey of 3,297 mothers found that only 77 percent usually, but not always, put their babies to sleep on their backs. (You’ll want to know why Finnish babies don’t sleep in cribs, too.) What’s more, the study also found that if the mother felt the baby’s sleeping position was the baby’s or another family member’s decision, she was more than three times more likely to place the baby on its stomach.
“What was new and hadn’t been explored before was this idea of what people intended to do versus what they actually do,” Dr. Eve Colson, professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and co-author of the study, told CNN. “What we found was that people intended to put their baby on their back but didn’t always do that.”
Although you should beware the worst parenting tips parents have gotten, this advice isn’t one of them. In fact, for over 20 years, the Safe to Sleep campaign has recommended that parents and caregivers place their sleeping baby on their backs before they go to sleep. Doing so reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, an unexplained fatal condition also known as SIDS, as well as other sleep-related infant deaths like suffocation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mothers told the surveyors that they fear their sleeping baby will choke on its back, or they worry that the position is less comfortable than having them sleep on their stomachs, Colson said. According to Dr. Robin Jacobson, a pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Health, these misperceptions might stem from influences of culture and family, or just lack of education.
“Grandmothers and aunts and everybody have told (mothers), if they have babies sleep on their bellies, they’re more comfortable; they’re not going to choke,” Robin told CNN. “And because of that, a new mom who doesn’t really have a lot of information is using information from everybody else in their life.”
Parents, take note: Experts say if you make this or any of these other parenting mistakes, you’re putting your baby’s life in danger. If you are still uncertain, ask for your doctor’s advice. After all, when it comes to your baby’s life, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.