Unsafe bedding is still common in U.S. cribs, despite widespread recommendations against putting infants to sleep with pillows and blankets.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 55 per cent of young children sleep with toys, quilts, cushions or other similar bedding.

Use of “potentially hazardous bedding” is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome and unintentional sleep-related suffocation, according to the AAP.

The study, led by researcher Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, is an analysis of data from the National Infant Sleep Position survey, which was taken between 1993 and 2010. The questionnaire was completed by 18,952 participants over 18 years, and details trends in American infant sleep habits.

The data shows a decline in unsafe bedding usage since 1993, when about 86 per cent of infants slept with loose bedding. The graph seems to level off in the early 2000s, however, with the most recent numbers from 2010 being no better than they were in 2003.

The study does note, however, a continued decline in blankets being placed overtop of young children, suggesting parents could be misinformed about the hazard of loose sheets beneath their child.

“This finding raises a concern that parents may incorrectly perceive the recommendations as only pertaining to items covering or around the infant and not include items under the infant,” reads the study.

The paper also notes that instances of sudden infant death syndrome have declined over the past decade, from 66.3 to 52.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010.

The study also found that the most common sleep position is currently lying on the back, which is the safest position for an infant, according to the National Institutes for Health.