HealthDay News — Unsafe sleep practices, including placing infants in a non-supine sleep position, are still prevalent in the United States, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jennifer M. Bombard, MSPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe infant sleep practices using data from the 2009 to 2015 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

The researchers found that 21.6% of respondents from 32 states and New York City reported placing their infant in a non-supine sleep position in 2015; this proportion varied from 12.2% to 33.8% in Wisconsin and Louisiana, respectively. Non-Hispanic blacks showed the highest rate of non-supine sleep positioning. The prevalence of non-supine sleep positioning was higher among respondents aged <25 years vs ≥25 years, for those with ≤12 years vs >12 years of education, and for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children during pregnancy. From 2009 to 2015 there was a decrease in placement of infants in a non-supine sleep position, from 27.2% to 19.4%. In 2015, 61.4% and 38.5% of respondents reported bed sharing with their infant and using any soft bedding, respectively.

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“Improved implementation of the safe sleep practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics could help reduce sleep-related infant mortality,” the authors write.

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Bombard JM, Kortsmit K, Warner L, et al. Vital signs: trends and disparities in infant safe sleep practices — United States, 2009–2015 [January 9, 2018].  MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6701e1