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Back Sleeping Still the Best Way to Avoid SIDS

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Flyers like this one urge parents to put their infants to sleep on their back
RALEIGH — For years there's been a stigma associated with parents whose childrendie of sudden infant death syndrome. But doctors stress that SIDS is notthe result of parents doing something wrong. Still there are someprecautions they recommend for keeping your baby safe.

As a new mother, Michaelle Smith has a lot to worry about. She foundherself waking up to see that her child was breathing. Smith was mainlyconcerned with doing everything right.

But doctors say you can do everything right and your baby is still at riskfor sudden infant death syndrome. This is why in 1992 the AmericanPediatrics Society tried to give parents more guidance by suggesting they put babies to sleep on their sides or backs. Now, to confuse matters evenmore, they are recommending that babies only their backs.

The belief is that on their stomachs, babies can suffocate on bedding.Other risk factors include poor prenatal care and smoking. But doctorssay most parents have nothing to worry about.

But Michaelle isn't leaving anything to chance. She says new mothers needto know everything they can about SIDS, including the right sleepingposition and warning signs.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 infants die a year from SIDS in the UnitedStates. Itusually happens between the ages of one week and one year.But again, because doctors know so little about it, for now the bestadvice they can give is for parents to put their infants to sleep ontheir backs.

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