Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

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Parents of newborns are often quick to rely on their own parents and relatives for babysitting help. It is easy to assume that since your parents raised you they must be qualified to babysit your infant, perhaps even more qualified than a professional childcare provider.  However, at least one study indicates in some instances this may not be the case and may lead to deadly results. Recent evidence from University of Virginia School of Medicine found that 1,375 out of 10,000 infant deaths occurred when a parent was not present. Digging deeper into the research showed that babies who were not in the presence of their primary caregivers were more likely to be placed in unsafe sleep environments or positions. What constitutes an unsafe sleep environment is an area with toys or soft bedding. As for positions, the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged families to lay infants down on their backs since the Safe to Sleep initiative began in 1994.  Since the implementing of this program, death by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has declined by over fifty percent. However, the research from the University of Virginia showed that baby sitters, relatives, and other caregivers may not be aware of the importance of sleep position or environment for preventing SIDS. The lowest compliance for placing infants in either a bassinet or crib, the recommended sleep environment, by type of caregiver, was with relatives at 29.4 percent and friends at 27.1 percent. Nearly three quarters, 72.5 percent, of licensed child care providers placed infants in the bassinets. When it came to laying the baby on their back for sleep, 54.1 percent of childcare providers were compliant whereas only roughly 38 percent of relatives, friends, and babysitters followed suit. This disparity may be a result of parents not relaying the doctor’s recommendations to their caregivers, or a refusal of the caregiver to abandon their way of caring for infants. The reasoning for why friends and families may not practice the safest sleep patterns for infants isn’t clear, but the moral of the story is—it’s important to talk to anyone who is watching your infant about safe sleep practices.

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