TORONTO — Newborns who sleep in a bed with their parents are more apt to fall victim to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death, a recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics shows.
The study investigated more than 8,000 deaths in infants in 24 states and found that younger victims — newborns less than three months — sleeping in adult bed were about 20 percent more likely to die of SIDS than newborns sleeping alone.
“The predominant risk factor for younger infants is bed-sharing,” the study’s authors wrote.
Older infants — babies older than three months but less than a year — were largely killed by objects near or in their sleep environment, the study showed.
Though the hazards of a newborn sleeping with an adult who is extremely fatigued or impaired have been well-known, this may be one of the first studies to show simply sharing a bed with a newborn even for a moment can increase risk of death.
The study seems to throw doubt on the proposed benefits of co-sleeping, a child rearing movement that alleges a parent’s bed is exactly where a child belongs.