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The Dangers of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

With new data just published in this month’s Pediatrics on the increase in deaths in infants related to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, it points out once again the dangers of co-sleeping. The “back to sleep” campaign that began in the mid-1990s after studies showed that children who slept in the supine position had a decreased incidence of SIDS. Since that time we have seen such a significant decrease in infant deaths related to SIDS. It is seldom that I even have to re-iterate supine sleeping, as most parents seem to realize the risks associated with tummy sleeping. There is an occasional parent that thinks their child “sleeps better on their tummy” but the inherent risks far outweigh the risks of prone sleeping.

This latest article and analysis of data shows that a new group of sudden unexpected infant deaths is now on the rise, and seems to be related to suffocation often secondary to an adult rolling on top of an infant or due to an infant who becomes entrapped between the bed and mattress or wall. These infants have all been co-sleeping with an adult on a mattress, couch, or even a waterbed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns sleep in their parents rooms, but in a bassinet or port-a-crib, and not in the parent’s bed. New parents are sleep deprived and even when being very careful, may roll over in their sleep or push a your-baby up against the wall or side of bed and cause accidental suffocation. The rates of accidental suffocation have quadrupled in the last 10 years.

We all want to be the best parent possible. If you have a newborn you know that there is nothing better than snuggling with your your-baby. But once cuddled, put your your-baby down to sleep on a firm mattress, in their own bed, without other pillows or blankets in their bed. The new tag line should be “back to sleep in their own bed!”

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

More Information: Rise in Infant Suffocations Tied to Bed-Sharing

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