Objective To investigate factors influencing African-American parents’ knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding infant sleep position and determine if these differ by socioeconomic status (SES).
Methods A cross-sectional sample of 412 parents with infants ≤6 months of age participated in a validated survey of knowledge, attitudes and practice.
Results There was no significant difference in attitudes or practice, and knowledge was similar regarding infant sleep position between African-American parents of higher and lower SES. The healthcare provider recommendation of exclusive supine sleep position use was associated with increased knowledge, overall decreased use of the side position (5.0% vs 16.8%, p<0.01) and increased occasional use of the supine position in the lower SES group (81.6% vs 68.6%, p=0.03). It was not associated with increased positive parental attitudes about the supine sleep position in either group. Neither a senior caregiver living in the home nor observation of hospital personnel placing infants in a non-supine position was associated with differences in sleep position practices in either group.
Conclusions Sleep position practices in African-American families do not differ by SES. Improved attitudes toward positioning and increased use of supine positioning may result if healthcare providers address common concerns and misconceptions about sleep position.
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