A recent study suggests that parents who search internet to find information on ways to put their infants to sleep may often end up with misinformation.
The American Association of Pediatrics-AAP along with other experts has made recommendations with regard to ways of cutting the risk of Sudden Infant Death syndrome-SIDS. They suggest that parents should make the infants lie on their back and put them to bed on firm mattresses without soft objects around.
The ‘Back to sleep’ drive for educating parents on putting their infants to bed in cribs has successfully cut down the number of crib-deaths by almost 50 percent since 1994. Unfortunately, SIDS still causes almost 2,500 deaths in infants every year in the US.
During the study, researchers wanted to see how often parents sought on-line information on infant sleep jibed with recommendations from AAP. They searched engines like Google using phrases like, ‘infant sleep positions’ and ‘infant sleep surface’.
In all, 931 websites popped up with relevant information of which only 61 percent gave accurate information. Dr. Rachel Y. Moon, Senior Researcher working at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington said that they were not surprised that wrong information was posted on web-sites. They only wanted to quantify what was suspected to be true.
Accuracy of information from one site to another varied based on the type of website. She said that Government sites did a good job since 72 out of 83 government sites gave accurate information while many other sites did not update their information. Amongst the most unreliable websites were personal websites and sites which review retail products. Amongst blogs, only 31 percent gave accurate information.
Dr Rachel suggested that government sites like Medline Plus and Healthfinder are reliable sources for relevant information. On finding the relevant information on-line, parents should consult their health provider before putting it to practice.
Although bed-sharing is a risk factor for SIDS, putting one’s infant to bed as per recommendations by AAP is the safest course. For breast-feeding mothers, attaching devices that resemble bassinets will allow them to be close to the infant without the risk of rolling over them.
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