When it comes to co-sleeping and the dangers associated with it, many parents believe the benefits outweigh the risks of SIDS, especially because they're doing it the right way. They don't smoke, or drink alcohol, and or take drugs, so their babies shouldn't be at a higher risk ... or so they thought.
A new study, however, found that the risk of SIDS increases five-fold when parents share a bed with an infant, even if the parents don't smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs -- even if the baby was breastfed. According to MedPage Today, the study found that 9 out of 10 SIDS births that involve co-sleeping would not have occurred if the parents weren't sharing a bed with their children. That's pretty sobering information.
In all, 22 percent of babies who died from SIDS were found to have been sleeping with a parent or caregiver when they died. Of course, smoking, drugs, and alcohol definitely increase the odds of SIDS -- smoking ups the risk of SIDS for 2-week-olds 65-fold when parents co-sleep, and a mother drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day ups the risk 89-fold. But still, any bed sharing with infants has some increased risk. One of the study's researchers from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Robert Carpenter PhD, told MedPage:
The message is clear, but it is one the bed-sharing advocates don't want to hear. For the first 3 months of life, babies should not sleep with their parents. Period. After that, if the parents don't smoke, it might be OK.
I know there are plenty of benefits to co-sleeping, and I know there are precautions you can take to make it safer. But this study makes those seem somewhat irrelevant. If you can really prevent your child's death by NOT co-sleeping, are you willing to take the risk?
Some parents may answer yes, and that's their decision to make. But everyone should have all of the information before they make it, including this study, which hopefully will make some people rethink their decision.
Does this study change your mind about co-sleeping?
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