What's Wrong With This Picture? Baby Is in Danger

Magazine photos, ads show unsafe baby sleep positions and situations that may cause SIDS, study says.

  • Avoid bed-sharing. Room-sharing, on the other hand, is advised. "Bed-sharing is a very large problem," says Thach. He says adds that 70 percent of the SIDS victims he and his colleagues have seen in St. Louis died while sleeping with an adult. (Note: This piece of the AAP recommendation remains contentious; it has drawn fire from groups that advocate bed-sharing to foster breast-feeding and closeness between parent and child.) And just because celebrities (like Jennifer Lopez, left) have been photographed gazing adoringly at their multiple infants sleeping side by side, that doesn't make it safe to let twins or siblings share a crib. Co-sleeping infants pose a big risk to each other, says Moon.
  • Avoid letting infants overheat during sleep.
  • Avoid exposing infants to cigarette smoke, including while they're in the womb.
  • Do consider informing babysitters of these risks, since an estimated 20 percent of SIDS cases occur while babies are in the hands of others. A possible factor: The SIDS risk associated with tummy sleeping may be particularly high for babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, experts say.
  • Do consider putting babies to bed with pacifiers, which have been associated with a decreased risk of SIDS. It's still unclear why, according to the AAP.
  • If all else fails, says Moon, remember: "Babies sleep safest on their backs, in a crib next to their parent's bed without anything else [inside] but the baby."