According to new national figures released in November, the preterm birth rate in the United States dropped for a seventh consecutive year, to a 17-year low of 11.4 percent of all births in 2013. (Though the report was released in 2014, the figures are for the previous year.) Experts with the March of Dimes, which released the report, characterized the results as promising, up to a point, saying there is still much work to be done at a public health level. The report emphasizes that while many risk factors for preterm birth are unknown or outside of parents' control, efforts to change modifiable risk factors, such as smoking during pregnancy, have made a measurable difference in outcomes.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics in July, which investigated the factors linked to sleep related deaths in babies, found that "bed-sharing" (i.e., an infant sleeping on the same surface as another person or pet) was the top risk factor for those age 4 months or younger. In older babies --...
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