DALLAS, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. rate of sudden infant death syndrome has dropped since a Back to Sleep campaign by pediatricians began in 1994, researchers say.
Dr. George Lister, chairman of pediatrics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says the Back to Sleep campaign urges placing infants on their backs to sleep, because studies show this cuts risk of SIDS -- the leading cause of death among children under age 1 in the United States.
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, found the number of babies placed on their backs to sleep has jumped from 25 percent to 70 percent since the program began, while the rate of SIDS has plummeted by more than 50 percent during that time.
Lister says the study shows the three reasons caregivers gave for not placing an infant on his or her back were -- concern for the infant's comfort, fear the infant might choke or never having been told by the doctor to do so.
"Our findings suggest that a physician's counsel makes a substantial difference when a caregiver is determining whether to place an infant to sleep on its tummy, side or back," Lister says in a statement.