Bed Sharing’s Deadly Consequences

Here’s research worth considering by parents — and prospective parents — who are considering the practice of bed-sharing with their babies. A new study says sharing the covers with a little one significantly increases a baby’s risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The risk of such deaths increases five-fold over babies who sleep independently.

British researchers noted bed-sharing can increase the risk of the devastating syndrome (where babies die suddenly and sometimes inexplicably) even in households where parents don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine noted some 88 percent of the deaths they investigated probably could have been prevented had the child slept near the parental bed in a crib, cot or bassinet. Researchers noted their findings were true even in cases where babies were breastfed (a factor known to protect against SIDS) and the infants lived in households where the parents did not smoke, drink excessively or take drugs (all factors known to exacerbate the syndrome).

The study was reported recently in BMJ Open and was accompanied by a call by researchers for more education on the practice and its risks in an effort to prevent deaths.