The practice of bed-sharing — parents sharing a bed with their infant — is a hot topic. Supporters of bed-sharing believe that a parent's bed is just where a baby belongs. But others worry that bed-sharing is unsafe.
Why Some People Bed-Share
Bed-sharing supporters believe — and some studies support their beliefs — that bed-sharing:
makes it easier for a nursing.
helps babies fall asleep more easily.
helps babies get more nighttime sleep.
helps parents regain closeness with their infant after being separated from their babies during the workday
Is Bed-Sharing Safe?
Despite the possible pros, various U.S. medical groups warn parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds due to serious safety risks. Bed-sharing puts babies at risk of suffocation, strangulation, and SIDS. Studies have found that bed-sharing is the most common cause of deaths in babies, especially those 3 months and younger.
Among older infants (4 to 12 months old) who died due to bed-sharing, having an additional item (like a pillow or a blanket) on the bed increased the risk of death. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress without any pillows, blankets, toys, stuffed animals, or other items.
Bed-Sharing & SIDS
Bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS, especially in preterm infants (preemies), babies with low birth weight, and healthy full-term infants younger than 4 months old.
Other things that further increase this risk of death while bed-sharing include:
a baby sleeping on a couch alone or with a parent
a baby sleeping between two parents
a mother who smokes
parents who are extremely tired
a parent who has recently used alcohol or drugs
bed-sharing with pillows or bedcovers
bed-sharing with other children
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