Half Of What The Internet Advises About Safe Infant Sleep Is Flamingly False

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SIDSBad news web-savvy parents and perpetual SIDS paranoids. Many of those copious websites you’ve pored over researching the exact way to place your little one in his or her crib are whoppingly false. So determined researchers intent on proving, once again, that not everything you read on the interwebs is true.

Reuters reports that an earnest team of researchers wanted to see how the likes of Google squared with the American Academy of Pediatric’s recommendations (such as firm mattresses and no soft objects in bed). After testing 13 different search terms, like “infant sleep position” and “infant sleep surface,” they pulled up 931 websites. And ladies, only 61 percent of that information was deemed “accurate.” Senior researcher Dr. Rachel Y. Moon says that this is far from surprising. But she and her team did find some common themes when it came to such inaccuracies. It seems that where personal websites and blogs get the information wrong, government websites tend to hit the mark:

Government websites did the best job, the researchers say. Of 83 government sites, 72 gave accurate information. Some sites, Moon noted, were not updated often and had outdated information…Blogs, personal websites and sites that review retail products were among the least reliable sources. Of all relevant blogs, for example, just 31 percent gave accurate information.

Dr. Henry F. Krous, a SIDS researcher and professor at the University of California, describes the study as “really important,” considering that more and more young parents are turning to the Internet and online communities to answer their parenting inquiries.

Websites like Medline Plus and Healthfinder passed the smell test, with researchers also suggesting that parents directly ask their pediatrician for online resources. Whatever facts or studies mommies and daddies stumble upon should be confirmed with a doctor.

As a general rule, Dr. Moon recommends abstaining from commercial websites that are shilling products along with their sleep recommendations. Of the 185 company websites or special interest sites that researchers examined, 29 percent offered inaccurate information. Which means save the blogosphere for those very necessary Suri Cruise updates and hate reads. But confirm that SIDS safety information every opportunity that you can.

(photo: Aliaksei Lasevich/ Shutterstock)