A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics looks at a dangerous trend:
A strong association between infant bed sharing and sudden infant death syndrome or unintentional sleep-related death in infants has been established. Occurrences of unintentional sleep-related deaths among infants appear to be increasing.
Our finding of a continual increase in bed sharing throughout the study period among black and Hispanic infants suggests that the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation about bed sharing is not universally followed.
Factors associated with increased bed sharing included maternal education level (less education meant more bed sharing), race (Hispanic and other races were more likely to bed share than whites), household income (less income led to more bed sharing), geography (occurs more in the western U.S. than elsewhere in the country), and infant age (especially babies younger than four months old). Premature babies were also more likely than term babies to share beds with their parents. And then, there’s this:
Almost 46% of the participants reported talking to a physician about bed sharing. Compared with those who did not receive advice from a physician, those who reported their physicians had a negative attitude were less likely to have the infant share a bed…, whereas a neutral attitude was associated with increased bed sharing…
Take it from this pediatrician: don’t do it. Healthy, full-term babies should be put to sleep in their crib, on their back, in their own room (if possible). You’ve probably decorated the baby’s room with all sorts of cute baby things. Use it! The first night home from the hospital is not too early.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a horrible event. Fortunately, it is uncommon. We know what many of the risk factors for SIDS are and sleeping in the same bed with a young infant is one of them. You can make an uncommon event even more rare by not sleeping in the same bed (or couch or rocking chair) as your baby. And, you will also benefit by having a baby — and later, child — who learns to sleep through the night! By themselves. In their own beds. All night.
Remember: babies will sleep through the night when their parents let them.
More PediaBlog on sleep here.