More Than A Cute Baby Photo

08.19.09 Study says magazine images, ads show unsafe baby sleep positions that may cause SIDS.

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If you've browsed through other parenting magazines recently, chances are you've seen cozy images of babies sleeping in different positions and surrounded by all sorts of bedding. Parents, beware! While they make for beautiful photos, these images set a bad example, health experts say.

A new study in Pediatrics found that magazines geared toward new mothers often show infants in unsafe sleeping positions, ABC News reports. American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines call for babies to be put to sleep on their backs and to avoid soft sleeping surfaces and loose bedding.

The study's examination of about 400 pictures in 28 magazines revealed that infants were photographed on their stomachs or sides about 36 percent of the time and depicted in unsafe sleeping environments 63 percent of the time.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) claims the lives of thousands of infants annually. The AAP and other health experts have been encouraging parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs. A recent study discovered that using a fan to circulate air in a baby's nursery helps lower his or her SIDS risk.

Fit Pregnancy has long advocated for parents and caregivers to place babies only on their backs when going to sleep. For more tips on baby's slumber time, check out our experts' answers to parents' questions.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.