With the latest “safe sleep” policy published in our November 2016 issue (REF), there has been more attention to the need to make sure a baby’s sleep environment is as simple as “A-B’C”. What does this mean? Put simply, a baby should be sleeping “A”lone without a parent sleeping in the same sleep space as that infant, on his or her “B”ack, and in a “C”rib or bassinet that is unencumbered with pillows, blankets, toys, or stuffed animals. Yet when you open a magazine that advertises cribs or other items for a baby’s nursery, one can find displays that don’t follow those suggested guidelines—even the ones published prior to the newly released safe sleep policy from last month.
So how often does a crib ad not meet sleep safe guidelines—and after four sets of guidelines over the past 24 years leading to this newest set, are the ads showing safer sleep environments or not? Kreth et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-1729) wished to look at whether crib displays in magazine advertisements adhere to AAP guidelines by reviewing ads from 1992, 2010, and 2015 (all before the latest 2016 guidelines) to determine adherence to the current guidelines at the time the ad ran. More than 1750 ads were reviewed and yet only about half were adherent to published guidelines although improvement in adherence has been noted over the past two decades. Yet even in 2015, a third of ads reviewed depict non-safe sleep settings.
What were some of the reasons for non-adherence? Loose soft bedding and bumper pads lead the list. Hopefully those responsible for the building, selling, and advertising of infant cribs and bassinets will be as familiar with the new 2016 sleep guidelines as we are and if not, we need to do more as pediatricians to make sure the crib industry is aware of them and better yet adheres to them in their various advertisements. We can’t fall asleep on the job of not just educating our patients about safe sleep environments, but also making sure the infant sleep industry wakes up as well to the contents and the importance of the newest set of AAP safe sleep guidelines.