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
Experts recommend that infants sleep in their parents' room until their first birthday.
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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