Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 1, January-February 2010

Sleeping infants safely Considerations for GPs

Leigh Wilson Susan Quine Milton Lewis
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Sudden infant death syndrome in 2009
Infants who die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) account for the majority of infants who die suddenly and unexpectedly. In New South Wales alone, 50–60 SIDS deaths occur each year.

Risk factors for SIDS
Although no clear cause for SIDS has been identified, studies have identified three key factors associated with an increased risk of SIDS: sleeping position, parental (particularly maternal) smoking, and co-sleeping.

Knowledge of safe sleeping practice
Safe sleeping messages are promoted widely throughout Australia. Australian and overseas studies suggest midwives, nurses and general practitioners have inconsistent knowledge about current safe sleeping recommendations.

Considerations for Australian GPs
Because of GPs known influence on infant care practice, they have a crucial role to play in the continuing education of parents, and have the potential to further reduce the risk of SIDS.

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