Stories about: Back to Sleep Campaign

Pediatrics studies SIDS risk in African American families

Lois Lee, MD, MPH

The excitement of decorating a baby’s room is a wonderful rite of passage for every parent. It’s also a big business for manufacturers. If you look in any baby related catalog, the choices for furniture, bedding and toys seems unlimited. But even though having so many options for matching sheets, blankets, crib bumpers and stuffed animals for your baby’s crib may seem appealing, these items put infants at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)* as well as suffocation, strangulation and entrapment.

It is well known that there are significant disparities in some medical conditions between different races and ethnicities, and SIDS risks are no exception. In infants born to black mothers, the rate of SIDS is more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic infants.  In addition, black infants have much higher rates of death due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, often caused by unsafe bedding items.

To better understand the reasons why the use of soft bedding is more prominent in black families, researchers from Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. recently conducted a study of infant bedding practices in black mothers. It’s hoped that by compiling this type of data, the medical community can better identify and educate at-risk families, resulting in safer infant sleep surfaces in the United States.

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Taking back childhood: staying off the slippery slope to WALL-E land

Claire McCarthy,MD

If you haven’t seen the movie “WALL-E”, you should.

Not just because the robot hero (named WALL-E) is wonderful, but also because the movie is a great cautionary tale.

The movie takes place in the future. Mankind has polluted earth so badly that it is uninhabitable. Everyone took off in a spaceship that now roams space, leaving only robots (like WALL-E) behind. The people spend their days sitting in moving seats, watching huge TV’s, and eating super-sized portions of junk food. They are all incredibly fat, and between their size and the fact that they sit in the moving seats all day, they can barely walk (I know this sounds awful, but it’s actually a happy movie.)

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