“Back to Sleep” Campaign

“Back to Sleep” Campaign
The “Back to Sleep” campaign, urging parents to put their babies on their backs to sleep, has been going strong for years.  In fact, statistics show the number of deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS was cut in half in the 1990s.  As we first told you Monday, a new study finds that drop in SIDS cases may not be as promising as we once thought.  The study finds earlier data on SIDS rates may not be valid, but not everyone agrees with this new study either.
Katie Collins sometimes puts her one month old daughter Liyah on her back to sleep; sometimes she puts her on her stomach.  “She does well on her belly, but she does well on her back too,” Katie says.  “Usually we're near her when she's on her belly so we can see her and we can hear her.”  Pediatrician Gary Olson says he encourages all new parents to put their babies on their backs when they go to sleep to help prevent SIDS.  “I think you're less likely to suffocate lying on your back than lying on your stomach,” Dr. Olson says.

Dr. Olson doesn’t agree with a new study in this month’s issue of Pediatrics.  The study says more medical examiners and coroners are classifying mysterious infant deaths as by suffocation of unknown cases rather than from SIDS.  If the new study is valid, it implies the reported drop in SIDS is about semantics more than safety.  “If they want to say that half of those kids are dying from suffocation and unknown causes, to me that's what SIDS is, dying from unknown causes,” Dr. Olson says.

Dr. Olson adds that the number of SIDS cases dropped 55 percent between 1992 and 2001.  He believes putting babies on their backs to sleep made that difference.  The new study doesn’t change his mind.  “It’s not going to change what I teach my parents to do,” he says.