A new study published in the medical journal “Pediatrics” showed that more one-third of publications targeted toward women ages 20 to 40 show pictures of babies in unsafe sleeping positions.
Hopefully, most moms know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies should be put to sleep on their backs — not on soft surfaces and not with loose bedding, which can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
“But when the ‘Pediatrics’ study examined almost 400 pictures of sleeping babies from 28 women’s magazines, including ‘Parenting,’ ‘Pregnancy’ and ‘Baby Talk,’ the infants were often portrayed curled up on their sides or sleeping on their bellies in many advertisements.”
“The tots were shot on their stomachs or sides 36 percent of the time, and 63 percent of photos showed hazardous sleeping environments that contained pillows, stuffed animals and blankets, or sharing a bed with an adult.”
” ‘It’s a subliminal message. If a mom sees that [unsafe ad], she may think it’s OK to sleep her baby in that particular position,’ Brandi Joyner, the lead author of the study and a SIDS researcher and health educator at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told ABC News. ‘That causes confusion as far as complacency in infant sleep practices.’ “
Another doctor points out that is also hurts when celebrities are shown breaking the rules in their home nurseries.
” ‘I recall the images of Jennifer Lopez’s nursery [from ‘People' magazine] for her newborn twins,’ Dr. Fern Hauck, a member of the AAP Task Force on, also told ABC. ‘Fluffy comforters, bumper pads [...] totally wrong message. You can be sure that all those readers took away the message that this was the nursery to yearn for.’ “
I totally remember seeing that Jennifer Lopez spread, and I do remember noticing all the soft silky bedding.
This reminds me of when I was editing News for Kids for the AJC and got a nasty letter from a teacher and her class that I had used a photo of a child on a bike not wearing a helmet. They wrote it was sending the wrong message to my young readers. I didn’t make that mistake again.
Should magazines always only depict the safe way to put a child to sleep? Do they need to run notices if they don’t depict safe sleeping saying: Please do not lay your child this way. We just thought it made a cute photo.
Should we count on parents just knowing the proper way to put their babies to sleep or should the magazines have to show it the correct, but less pretty, way?
(You get two topics today. My kids were playing nicely in the basement. Please check out the topic: “Will free kids meals entice you to eat out more?”)