Sleeping Safely: Perceptions and Practices of Parents and Care Givers




Chhetri, Shlesma
Paul, Marcy
Miller, Jennifer
Reyes, Irene
Rahman, Adrita
Watt, Ian
Cantu, Katherine


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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of safe sleep among parents and caregivers. Background: Infant mortality remains a persisting problem in the United States (MacDorman, et al., 2014). Despite the effort of American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to combat this issue, infant sleep safety remains a controversial topic with ambiguous definitions and inconsistent practices (McKenna & McDade, 2005). Given such debates, it is important to focus attention on exploring a community’s opinion of safe sleep. Methods: A preliminary study utilizing a mixed method approach was conducted in Fort Worth, Texas. Surveys were administered at two daycare centers representative of a low and a high income community. Participants were asked about sleep positions, where, if at all, they received information about safe sleep, and they were asked to identify safe sleep positions from pictures of different sleep positions. Not wanting to identify babies by race or ethnicity a teddy bear was used to demonstrate four different sleep positions. A total of 48 parents/caregivers participated in the study. Results: Our study found that there is confusion about what comprises safe sleeping position/arrangement for infants. Additionally, the recommendations by APA are not well disseminated as majority of our respondents selected side-sleep position as being safe for babies. Our results also found a relationship between where people receive information and how they perceive/practice safe sleep. Conclusion: This study helped identify an important gap in knowledge and practice regarding safe sleep in the community that must be explored further.