A new research study proposes that bed-sharing remains a high risk aspect for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant deaths. It also states that younger infants appear to be at a more increased risk. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS and accidental strangulation/suffocation are attributed to over 4,000 infant deaths every year. The research study’s examination of the sleep environment shows how such risks can change during a baby’s first year.
The study, which was printed up in the most recent edition of the journal Pediatrics, shows that risk factors which contribute to SIDS differ with an infant’s age. The majority of babies younger than four months who died while sleeping were sharing a bed, while older infants who died were more likely to be on their stomachs with blankets, or other objects, around them, stated one of the research report authors, Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, who works as a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
SIDS and other unintended injuries, such as suffocation, occur in just over 80 out of every 100,000 live births, states the National Center for Health Statistics. The study reported that most babies who had died from SIDS, which was nearly 70 percent, were bed-sharing when they died.
A bigger percentage of younger infants who ranged in age from 0 to 3 months were bed-sharing when compared with older babies. This was nearly 75 percent vs. 60 percent, according to the research report. Promoters of bed-sharing state that bonding and soothing benefits can become safe by removing soft, loose bedding from the bed. However the research report contests this argument.
Dr. Colvin explained that many of the deaths that he and his group saw in the study were in the context of bed sharing. However, according to the Missouri state review team which provided information, there were no other items in the bed that would have been an additional risk. What researchers are learning is that not only is it unsafe and a major risk factor for SIDS and other sleep-related deaths, but that it is basically impossible to make bed sharing safe.
Older babies who are four to 12 months were more likely to have been found with items in their area of sleep at the time of death. They were also more likely to have been discovered face-down, even though they had been put to bed on their back or side. Infants start rolling from back to stomach about four months of age.
Even though experts do not advise that infants need to be constantly repositioned on their backs if they roll onto their stomachs, parents need to remember to keep the sides of cribs and bassinets free of any objects.
Dr. Colvin and his group discovered that in the deaths they investigated, 35 percent of all babies were put to sleep on their side or stomach. They found it was 37 percent of younger infants and nearly 30 percent of older babies. They discovered that 38 percent of all infants were found on their stomachs, which meant almost 37 percent of younger infants and 42 percent of older babies.
Some of the most dangerous items that were discovered in the sleeping environment were blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed toys, clothing and cords. They were discovered in nearly 35 percent of all the deaths. The new research study proposes that bed-sharing remains a high risk aspect for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant deaths.
By Kimberly Ruble