These Web searches commonly turned up results that contradicted current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics aimed at reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, strangulation and other accidental sleep-related deaths, the study found.
What is particularly worrisome, the researchers said, is that 72 percent of adults say they trust most or all of the health information they find on the Internet.
The study was published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Pediatrics.
"It is important for health care providers to realize the extent to which parents may turn to the Internet for information about infant sleep safety and then act on that advice, regardless of the reliability of the source," Dr. Rachel Moon, pediatrician and SIDS researcher at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C., said in a journal news release.
Moon and her team used Google, the leading Internet search engine in the United States, to test the accuracy of information on infant sleep safety available on the Web.