Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading reason given for death among infants one month to one year old. Studies have shown that sharing a bed with parents who smoke increases the risk of SIDS. A study in the July issue of The Journal of Pediatrics found a relationship between SIDS and bedsharing among infants less than 11 weeks old, even if parents are non-smokers.
David Tappin, MD, MPH and colleagues from University of Glasgow and Ecob Consulting evaluated 123 cases of SIDS in Scotland between 1996 and 2000. The parents of these infants provided information about the babys exposure to smoking, the parents routine infant-care practices, and the day or night of their infants death. The researchers found that 90% of the babies died while sleeping at night. Only 11% of the infants were reported to routinely sleep in their parents bed. 52% of the babies, however, had shared a bed/cot/couch or other surface at some point during the day or night that they died; of these, 87% were found in their parents beds.
A relationship exists between SIDS, bedsharing, couchsharing, and the location of the infants when they died; this association is magnified when the babies are less than 11 weeks old, regardless of how long they shared a sleep surface, their proximity to parents, their location in the bed, or their exposure to smoke. 72% of the infants found in their parents bed and 57% of the infants who shared a couch when they died were less than 11 weeks old. In this study, sleeping in a separate room did not increase the risk of SIDS, unless the parents were smokers.
Monica Helton | EurekAlert!
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