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Healthy infants, when being put to sleep, should be placed on their backs or their sides in order to reduce the chance that they will develop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended last week.

A statement released at the pediatricians' convention in New York City said that new research shows that the most common sleeping position for infants, prone, is associated with a higher incidence of SIDS.

Physicians often recommend that infants be placed on their stomachs in their cribs because of concerns that if the baby were to spit up or vomit, he or she would be less likely to choke.

There is no evidence, however, that sleeping position influences the chances of choking, the academy indicated.

Premature infants, as well as those with respiratory problems, should continue to be placed in the prone position when put to sleep, the academy recommended.

Beginning April 15, many parents and guardians will be given detailed consent forms when they seek immunizations for their children.

The booklets contain a consent form as well as information about three common immunizations: for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; measles, mumps, and rubella; and polio.

The booklets were required by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which set up a fund for children who were permanently injured by common vaccines.

The new publications are geared to adults with an 8th-grade reading level and run from seven to nine pages. They contain information about the disease that the immunization is designed to prevent and detail the symptoms for any adverse reactions to the vaccine.

The consent forms must be signed by a parent or guardian if the vaccine was purchased from federal sources.


The National Health/Education Consortium has released a new report on collaborative efforts to provide health and education services to school-age children.

The consortium, which includes more than 50 national health and education groups, was formed two years ago by the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality and the Institute for Educational Leadership to promote collaboration between the two sectors.

The new report details how officials at the local, state, and federal levels are trying to remove barriers that divide health and education.

Copies of the report, "Creating Sound Minds and Bodies,'' are available for $10 each from the N.C.P.I.M., 330 C Street, S.W., Room 2014, Washington, D.C. 20201.--E.F.

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