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Supine sleeping is recommended to prevent the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In preterm and/or low birthweight infants in particular, prone or side sleeping is associated with an increased risk of SIDS with an odds ratio of between 37 (side position) and 140 (prone position) compared with term infants sleeping on their back. This risk is multiplicative to the individual risks associated with either prematurity or the prone/side position.1 2
These epidemiological data contrast with the fact that infants who are born prematurely exhibit less apnoea and intermittent hypoxia, have better thoracoabdominal synchrony, higher lung volumes and better oxygenation when nursed in the prone position, which is particularly true for …
Competing interests: None.