Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018 October, 246(2)

Infant Suffocation Incidents Related to Co-Sleeping or Breastfeeding in the Side-Lying Position in Japan

CHITARU TOKUTAKE,1 AKIKO HAGA,1 KESAMI SAKAGUCHI,1 ATSUKO SAMEJIMA,1 MIKI YONEYAMA,1 YOSHIHARU YOKOKAWA,1 MASAYOSHI OHIRA,1 MOTOKI ICHIKAWA1 and MAKOTO KANAI1

1School of Health Sciences, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

Co-sleeping and breastfeeding in the side-lying position have recently been pointed out as risk factors for suffocation in sleeping infants; however, there is no actual report on an “incident.” “Incident” is defined as a tense or sobering experience without a consequential fatal suffocation accident. It is important to understand infant suffocation incidents to prevent accidents during co-sleeping and breastfeeding in the side-lying position. We investigated factors and frequency of infant suffocation incidents associated with co-sleeping and breastfeeding in the side-lying position using a self-administered questionnaire survey of 895 mothers during their infant's 1-, 4-, or 10-month health checkups. Co-sleeping and breastfeeding in the side-lying position were practiced by 28.3% and 56.0% of mothers, respectively; thus, 84.3% of the mothers surveyed were practicing either co-sleeping or breastfeeding in the side-lying position. Of those who received guidance from a medical professional, 36.1% practiced only co-sleeping while 60.1% practiced only side-lying breastfeeding. In the co-sleeping group, 10.6% had faced infant suffocation incidents, while 13.2% in the breastfeeding in the side-lying position group had faced similar incidents. Regarding factors associated with suffocation incidents while co-sleeping, the frequency of occurrence was significantly more in mothers of 1-month and 4-month-old infants compared with those of 10-month-old infants. Of mothers who faced suffocation incidents while breastfeeding in the side-lying position, 45% also had faced similar incidents while co-sleeping. These results demonstrate the importance of thoroughly educating mothers about the risks associated with co-sleeping and breastfeeding in the side-lying position for preventing infant suffocation.

Key words —— breastfeeding in the side-lying position; co-sleeping; incident; infant; suffocation

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Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018, 246, 121-130

Correspondence: Chitaru Tokutake, School of Health Sciences, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-8621, Japan.

e-mail: ctokuta@shinshu-u.ac.jp

Makoto Kanai, M.D., Ph.D., School of Health Sciences, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-8621, Japan.

e-mail: makotok@shinshu-u.ac.jp