A recent article in the New York Times brought forth some sobering statistics on cases of crib death in infants. In many of these instances, the infants were placed on sofas to sleep.
I’m pleased to see this issue being brought to light. I have been emphasizing safe sleep for families for a long time. Most parents know that having an infant sleep in bed with them could be dangerous, however when I bring up napping on the couch, parents often seem to shrug off my advice.
This article presents actual data that shows just how dangerous this practice can be for young infants.
Whether sleeping on a couch alone or with a parent, it makes no difference. Soft, plushy surfaces can cause curving of an infant’s neck and spine which can make it harder to take a full, deep breath. Couches often have a slope and squirmy infants can easily work themselves into a dangerous groove or even a sideways or face-down position and their mouth and nose can be smothered.
Couches also are a common source for falls. The injuries and, sadly, even deaths that can result are very preventable but take a committed effort by parents to use caution when placing an infant on the couch.