A review of images of sleeping infants in UK magazines and on the internet

Community Pract. 2011 Sep;84(9):23-6.


This paper reports on findings of a survey of women's magazines and the internet looking at the extent to which images of babies reinforce or undermine safe infant care advice to reduce the risk of cot death. All images of babies printed in all issues of nine magazines over an eight-month period during 2009 to 2010 were reviewed. The review also included the first 20 pages of a Google search of UK sleeping babies conducted on one day in 2011. In total, 559 images were reviewed. A substantial proportion of images depicted unsafe situations, in particular side and prone sleeping and sleeping indoors with the head covered by a hat or other covering. There was a dearth of images of babies sleeping in the feet-to-foot position or with a dummy, both of which are included in FSID/Department of Health guidelines on reducing the risk of cot death. The findings are discussed in the context of health visitors' and other community practitioners' work and current government cuts in resources, and suggestions are made to respond to the situation.

MeSH terms

  • Bedding and Linens
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Internet
  • Mass Media*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Photography
  • Posture
  • Sleep*
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control*
  • United Kingdom