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Report looks at infant deaths in sitting devices

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Sadly, thousands of infants die each year in sleep-related incidents. According to a recent report, several hundred of these deaths occur when a baby is not in a crib or bassinet.

The study looked at data on 11,779 infant sleep-related deaths that occurred from 2004-2014.

" What they found was that most sleep-related deaths do occur in a routine sleep environment, like a crib however the risk is high when babies were placed in seating devices," said Kimberly Giuliano, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children's, who did not take part in the study.

Researchers also found the risk of a sleep-related death was higher if the child was in the care of a childcare provider or babysitter, rather than their parents.

Giuliano said babies have a lesser chance of a sleep-related death when caregivers follow the ‘ABC' rules of sleep.

This means a baby should always sleep alone — which means not co-sleeping with a parent, or stuffed animals or blankets — and placed on their back, in a crib. 

Parents should also be sure that anyone caring for their child knows the latest safety recommendations, and practices them.

"New parents should definitely make sure that anyone that is caring for their child knows all the safe sleep tips that they have read up on and learned about," said  Giuliano. "This includes grandparents, neighbors, other babysitters, nannies – sometimes we take for granted that they know what they're doing because they've done this before." 

If parents are concerned a caregiver may not necessarily adhere to the latest safety information, Giuliano recommends bringing the caregiver along to the baby's next pediatrician visit, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to keeping the baby safe.

Complete results of the research can be found in Pediatrics.