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Crib Marketing Displays Often Depict Unsafe Sleep Environments for Infants

Many national magazine advertisements and manufacturers of infant cribs continue to depict an unsafe sleep environment, despite longtime guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to protect against SIDS and other sleep-related deaths, a new study shows. The study, “Safe Sleep Guideline Adherence in Nationwide Marketing of Infant Cribs and Products,” to be published in the January 2017 Pediatrics (online Dec. 19) analyzed 1,758 magazine advertisements from 1992, 2010 and 2015. Improvements have been made over time, but the study found that nearly 40 percent of current advertisements that depicted sleep environments for children 1 year or younger failed to adhere to safe sleep recommendations. Most of the crib displays that depicted unsafe sleep environments showed bumper pads and/or soft bedding, both of which have been associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or other sleep-related deaths, according to research. While white children were featured in most of the advertisements, none of the ads that featured definitively non-white children adhered to safe-sleep guidelines. The AAP first released recommendations in 1992 that all infants should be placed on their backs for sleep, followed by expanded guidelines in 1996, 2005, 2011 and 2016. The authors conclude that health care providers should broaden current educational and advocacy efforts beyond parents and caregivers to include advertisers, stores and crib manufacturers. Special attention should also be given to the messaging involving non-white infants and sleep, the study concludes.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit

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