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Study shows that over half of U.S. babies sleep with dangerous bedding

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

This simple change can lower your baby's risk of suffocation and SIDS

Crib bedding is cute to look at, but it poses a serious risk to your baby. Despite many warnings, over half the babies in the United States are sleeping with unsafe bedding. Find out what you need to change.

For the past 20 years, recommendations have been made against letting infants sleep with loose bedding such as pillows, blankets and crib bumpers. Despite these recommendations and service announcements by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health, parents continue to use unsafe bedding at an alarming rate.

While the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has dropped, the rate of suffocation has more than doubled. While crib bedding is adorable, and bumpers and blankets are often given as baby shower gifts, parents need to understand that these items aren't safe for babies.

This simple change can lower your baby's risk of suffocation and SIDS

If you're concerned about your baby's warmth, then consider safer alternatives, like tight-fitting pajamas with feet (Kohls, $8) and swaddle-sleepers (Target, $20). Keep cute bedding like baby quilts and pillows displayed somewhere else in the nursery. Before you know it, your baby will be moving on to a toddler bed, where you can make better use of the sweet baby blankets you received while you were pregnant.

If you co-sleep, then just follow these tips and guidelines for co-sleeping safely. The same bedding rules apply. Using only a fitted sheet on the bed, just as you would do on a crib mattress, is the best bet.

Make a note to check out your baby's sleeping space. Is it free of loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows and bumpers? If not, then take a few minutes out of your day to remove all unnecessary loose items from the crib. It's such a simple step to take, but it could save your baby's life.

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