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News Opinion Readers Respond

Keep babies safe, not just stylish

The recent feature article regarding nurseries ("Making rooms for baby," March 10) provides nice design advice, but it fails to provide safe advice for a sleeping newborn. Many of the photographs in the article highlight unsafe cribs.

In the Baltimore metropolitan area alone in 2011, 18 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly in unsafe sleep positions. These typically healthy, happy newborns were placed to sleep on their stomachs, in adult beds, or in cribs full of unnecessary bumpers, blankets and animals. Over the past 10 years, we have found that infants placed "safe to sleep" under the ABC guidelines — Alone, on their Back and in a Crib are much less likely to die suddenly and unexpectedly.

Crib bumpers, soft mattresses and blankets are not necessary and potentially harmful. Parents need to remember that the most dangerous place for young infants to be put to sleep is an adult bed. More than half of all these sudden and unexpected deaths occur in adult beds. By creating a safe sleep environment in the parents' room for the first few months of life, breast-feeding can be supported and the baby is less likely to die.

There is nothing more tragic than finding a healthy infant dead in an unsafe sleep position, and no parent should choose fancy design over a safe place for the infant to sleep.

Dr. Scott Krugman, White Marsh

The writer is president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

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