Newborns run a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome if they are put to bed on their backs. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released results of a survey of 15,195 mothers in conjunction with federal data that show SIDS dropped 12 percent last year, to 2,705 from 3,050 in 1996. Since 1992, pediatricians have been encouraging mothers to get their infants to sleep on their backs or sides. Researchers believe many SIDS cases occur when babies sleeping on their stomachs suffocate in their bedding. Nevertheless, about 30 percent of mothers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina continued to put their babies to bed on their stomachs. The survey also found that stomach-sleeping infants were most common among African Americans.
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