Reliability of Online Safe Infant Sleep Information

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Pediatricians around the world are crying foul over the innumerable websites that provide suggestions on how to safely put their infant to sleep. A study conducted to unearth the truths has found that many websites are authenticating their tips under the garb of The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations.

The AAP is a leading authority on research in pediatrics and has a panel of experts who make recommendations on reducing cases of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) among infants. Their major campaign has been to reduce SIDS related deaths in the country and have successfully brought the percentage down by almost 50% since 1994. However, even today, more than 2500 infants die each year due to SIDS.

Safe Infant SleepSome researchers are of the opinion that online information regarding SIDS is the culprit. By conducting a pilot study they also reached another level in the investigation. Parents seeking online information on crib deaths were given infant sleep advice jibed with AAP recommendations.

A team of scientists headed by Dr. Rachel Y. Moon at the Children’s National Medical Center, Washington D.C, conducted this study.  The following were the methodology and findings of the research:

  • The topic was Googled using various search terms.
  • Out of the 900 odd results that popped up, only 61% was accurate. Rest was all wrong and misleading.
  • The accuracy was directly proportional to the type of website providing information.
  • Of the 83 Government sites searched, 72 gave accurate information.
  • Personal websites, product review sites and blogs are the least reliable.
  • Even among the relevant blogs, only 31% gave accurate information.

According to Dr. Moon and other experts in the field the following is advice to the new parents who refer to online sources for safe baby sleep information.

  • If you do use internet for getting SIDS related information then look for the renowned Government health websites only. Do not go for keyword search.
  • After reading the information confirm the same from your pediatrician before implementing it.
  • Steer clear of commercial sites as they are maintained by retailers marketing infant products such as crib liners, soft toys and pillows which are in reality some of the causes for crib death.
  • Some of the recommendations that AAP has not given but are claimed to be: back sleep is best for your baby, bed-sharing with your baby reduces incidence of SIDS, bed-sharing helps keep up breast feeding habit for long, etc.
  • Lastly, do not just go by the AAPs recommendations. Get confirmations from your baby’s health provider.

Posted in: Baby Sleep

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