Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 2, 2013

More babies share parents' beds despite risks

Nearly 14 percent of adults said their infants shared a bed.

(Continued)

About 2,000 U.S. infants died from SIDS in 2010 and the rate has been flat for the past few years. Causes are unknown but circumstances that increase risks include premature birth, parents’ smoking and sleeping on soft surfaces with pillows and blankets. Many doctors think bed-sharing is risky because sleeping parents could roll onto infants, or they could get tangled in loose bedding.

A JAMA Pediatrics editorial questions whether bed-sharing per se is dangerous, citing a study that found many SIDS infants had slept on sofas — potentially riskier than beds — with parents who smoked or had been drinking, factors that could have contributed. Bed-sharing has benefits including making it easier for moms to breast-feed at night, the editorial says.

The pediatricians’ group recommends that infants sleep near parents’ bed to facilitate breast-feeding and supports government-sponsored campaigns emphasizing that placing babies to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress and not in a bed shared with others is the safest sleep practice.

Those efforts are credited with reducing the number of infants placed to sleep on their stomachs since the 1990s but appear to have had little effect on bed-sharing.

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