Recent research that appeared in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s Pediatrics journal has found that the biggest killer of babies, sudden infant death syndrome, can be exacerbated by sharing a bed. The condition affects those up to one year of age.
According to the published results, more than 2,000 babies perish each year in the United States alone due to this condition. The researchers reviewed data between 2004 and 2012 in 24 out of 50 states. All deaths were published through the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths.
The team then broke down the information into different age brackets, splitting up the group between newborn babies up to three months of age and then babies between four to 12 months old. Between those age brackets, the team discovered unsettling news: that of 8,207 fatalities from the condition, that up to 69 percent of infant death syndrome occurred when the baby shared a bed with a parent.
Those in the first-age bracket, up to three months of age, were more prone to having a parent sleep in the bed beside them by the rate of about 73.8 percent, the research team found. Those in the second-age bracket, between four and 12 months old, shared a bed with a parent at a rate of 58.9 percent. However, the second-age bracket could have choked on items in their bed more than the first bracket.
This research is certainly an eye-opener for parents who may have thought that they were doing nothing wrong by sharing a bed with their babies. However, for preventative measures, the AAP advises that all parents keep hard and soft toys, bumper pads, comforters, bedding, and blankets out of a baby’s crib. Instead of a blanket, babies should use a wearable blanket or sleep sack. Babies should also never sleep anywhere besides their crib, and the crib should be safe and smoke-free.
Parents should also watch out for other fatal risks for babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC notes that these include sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Babies are at a risk of potentially fatally choking or suffocating themselves at night until they reach 12 months old.
In order to prevent instances of SIDS, parents need to keep alcohol and cigarettes away from the baby’s environment. They also need to make sure that if someone else, like a babysitter or relative stays with their baby overnight that they know how to properly put the baby to sleep. Babies should always sleep on their backs.