Mothers’ Reported Knowledge Of, Practices, And Barriers To Engaging In Infant Safe Sleep
BACKGROUND: Infant mortality is a serious public health problem in the U.S.; the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than 25 comparably developed nations (MacDorman et al., 2014). Sleep-related deaths are one of the most common causes of death during infancy, and infants of color are more likely than are white infants to die as a result of such deaths. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics has published guidelines for safe sleep practices, families may experience barriers to following these guidelines. PURPOSE: This study examined community mothers' knowledge of, reported practices, and barriers to following safe sleep guidelines in Kalamazoo. METHODS: At 2 months postpartum, 272 women were surveyed via telephone about their safe sleep knowledge and practices as well as barriers to engaging in safe sleep. RESULTS: Most women (95%) reported following at least three of the safe sleep guidelines; however, 14% reported engaging in cosleeping. With regard to safe sleep knowledge, the most common guidelines recalled were placing a child on their back (90%) and putting nothing in the sleeping space with the baby (74%). Fewer mothers noted the importance of placing a baby in a crib or pack-and-play (48%) or sleeping alone (39%). The most common reported barrier to engaging in safe sleep was placing the baby to sleep alone (71%). CONCLUSIONS: Refraining from cosleeping is the most common safe sleep guideline that mothers have difficulty following in our local community. Interventions should help mothers problem solve barriers to placing babies to sleep alone.