Here's the skinny on Tummy Time and the practice of putting infants to sleep on their backs.
The cure for one ailment leads to others. There are always "side effects."
Collateral damage. Unintended consequences. The domino effect, wings of the butterfly, the universe in balance. There are no fool-proof protocols anywhere.
The Back to Sleep/Tummy Time interests me beyond the huge behavioral shift and the domino effect. A treatment or cure shouldn't be confused with an underlying cause.
Yes, back sleeping has resulted in far fewer SIDS deaths. But this doesn't mean tummy sleeping causes SIDS. It increases the risk, yes, but is still not the cause. Instead, research has begun to identify a host of complex neurological and physiological differences in infants who succumb to sudden infant death.
Sometimes it's very difficult to separate an indirect factor from an underlying cause. In fact, entire books have been written about this very topic. Entirely new statistical techniques and models have emerged in the past decade or so and taken these mind-numbingly complicated relationships to dizzying degree - and frankly nearly sunk my dissertation (another story!). But for our purposes, let's just remember there are more indirect (e.g., sleeping on the stomach) and underlying causes (e.g., neurological delays).
So now hopefully I can rest more easily now that I got that off my mind.....