Sleeping with parents ‘ups risk of sudden death’ in babies

Thursday, September 30, 2010

MELBOURNE - A new study has revealed that it is highly risky for young babies to sleep in the same bed as their parents.

But South Australian Coroner Mark Johns said young babies could benefit from sleeping in the same room with their mother and father, the extra stimulation reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The statement came after an inquest into the deaths of five young babies in South Australia between July 2007 and November 2008.

In one case an autopsy concluded a month-old baby girl had suffocated after becoming trapped between the cushion and the back of a couch after falling asleep with her father.

“The message to be drawn from these five tragic deaths is that the risk of sudden, unexplained death in infancy is greatly increased where a child sleeps in the same bed with one or more parents or other adults, whether the mechanism of death is asphyxia due to overlaying, bedding or otherwise,” quoted Johns as saying.

In the west adults were sharing soft, high beds with young babies and covering themselves with doonas or blankets.

“What we’ve done in the west is we’ve made co-sleeping dangerous,” forensic pathologist Roger Byard said.

Because of their age children were unable to rescue themselves from a dangerous situation, such as if their nose and mouth were covered, he said.

Although there were advantages to co-sleeping, including enhanced bonding between parent and child and assistance with breastfeeding and settling, the best approach was to have a baby sleep in a well constructed cot with a firm mattress and for the cot to be placed in the parents’ bedroom, he said. (ANI)

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