These Baby Sleep Mistakes Could Be Deadly for Infants

baby sleepingMoms have heard countless recommendations related to infant sleeping risks, but new studies keep coming out warning parents again and again. The latest, which looked at 8,207 cases of infant deaths during sleep and was published in Pediatrics, concluded that even when parents take steps to remove unsafe items from their bed, bed-sharing -- also referred to as co-sleeping or sleep-sharing -- remains a risk factor for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant deaths (such as accidental suffocation and strangulation). In fact, 69 percent of all deaths occurred while infants were bed-sharing.

The lead author of the study, Jeffrey Colvin, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri, tells USA Today that so many of the deaths in the study were "in the context of bed sharing" and "there were no other objects in the bed that would have made an additional risk." In other words, he says that it's "impossible" to make co-sleeping safe.

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And while bed-sharing was found to be the greatest risk for babies ages 4 months and younger, rolling into objects in the sleep area -- such as a blanket or pillow -- is the top risk factor for older babies (between the ages of 4 months and 1 year), the research found.

While this is troubling, it's also not exactly, well, new or something parents haven't heard before. The current AAP recommendations state that infants should sleep in the same room as the parents but not in the same bed, and on their back in a crib or bassinet and with no soft or loose bedding or objects. And yet, many parents forget about the risk of objects as a child gets older or determine that co-sleeping is best for their infant (the number of parents sharing a bed with their infants has doubled in the past two decades) anyway.

More From The Stir: 11 Mistakes Moms Make When They're Putting Baby to Bed

Sure, moms may feel sleeping with their little one is more convenient for feedings or because they value the soothing, bonding benefits of sleeping with their child. And there are ways to make co-sleeping safer -- by eliminating soft, loose bedding from the adult bed, for instance. But these repeated warnings, eerie statistics, and straightforward recommendations from respected experts are hard to ignore.

Of course mom should be given free reign to trust their guts and do what they feel is best for their babies more often than not, but perhaps there are cases where it's better to be safe than sorry. Maybe there are times parents have to admit that experts do know better. Considering just how unnerving these latest findings and warnings are -- and how they continue to be reiterated over and over again -- perhaps everyone would do well to take them more seriously.

How do you feel about these rules? Do you abide by them?

 

Image via Madjuszka/iStock

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