Please share this information with every pregnant or new mom you can to ensure they are thoroughly and accurately aware of the risks of bed sharing with their precious bundle. Encourage them to choose “room sharing” as a safe, effective alternative.
A new study, the largest ever analysis of five major case control studies, was published online May 20 in the BMJ Open. It concludes that bed sharing presents a five-fold increased risk of SIDS, even when the baby is breastfed, neither parent is a smoker and mom is not under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Add other risk factors, including an increased risk of accidental suffocation, falls and entrapment and you have a recipe for disaster.
First Candle, the American Academy of Pediatrics and experts and infant health organizations worldwide are urging parents to seriously consider these risks and err on the side of caution: place your baby’s crib, play yard, bassinet or other separate, safety-approved sleep space alongside your bed (room sharing). Bring baby into bed for brief bonding or calming moments and feedings, but ALWAYS place baby back in his or her own space when it’s time to go to sleep. This minimizes the risks and everyone gets some much needed rest.
The conclusion of this and other studies: A significant decrease in SIDS and accidental death rates could be achieved if parents avoided bed sharing.
SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age. The researchers of this study concluded that nine out of 10 SIDS deaths that involved sleeping with a parent or caregiver would not have occurred in the absence of bed sharing.
Caveat: Breastfeeding is important and has been shown to be protective against SIDS. Bed sharing and successful breastfeeding are not mutually exclusive! You can successfully breastfeed AND protect your baby from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep by room sharing instead.
Please take the time to read the full text of this study – it is compelling.
Here are some other links to media reactions to the study. Beware: the photo used by CBS as a lead in to an otherwise very good article is a very “unsafe sleep” photo. Please join us in bringing this to the attention of Michelle Castillo at CBS News as well.
Bed-Sharing Raises SIDS Risk Fivefold, Study Finds – Philly.com
Any Bed-Sharing Puts Baby at Risk for SIDS – The Gupta Guide, MedPage Today
Bed-Sharing Raises SIDS Risk Fivefold, Study Finds – HealthDay News