To investigate to what extent parents of infants are following national safe sleep advice given for the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and to study the reasons for not adhering to recommendations on sleep position (always on the back) and location (parents and infant not sleeping in the same bed).
Quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional study.
Online survey among parents of 0-11 month old children via well-baby clinics and online media.
Of the 1,209 respondents, 72.4% indicated that their child was usually placed on the back, and 34.1% indicated that their child slept in the same room as its parent(s), but not in the same bed. Of children aged 0-2 and 3-4 months 6.3% and 8.2% respectively slept with their parents in one bed. Parents of children of 0-6 months old (n = 199) who are not adhering to advice on sleeping position most often indicated that the child sleeps better (35%), that there is a preferred position or flat head syndrome (13%) or a desire to prevent it (16%, 29% combined). Reasons most frequently mentioned by parents for not following the recommendation not to sleep with their child in the same bed were: ease of breastfeeding (50%; n = 24) and better sleep of the child (40%; n = 19); this was for children of 0-6 months old.
Parents do not automatically follow safe sleep recommendations for their child. Prevention may be improved by talking to parents about their reasons for not adhering to recommendations and determining together how to create a safe sleeping environment for the baby.
Conflict of interest and financial support: potential conflicts of interest have been reported for this article. This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Health, Sports and Welfare. ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.