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A Separate Bed For Baby

The government weights in on dangers of sleeping with baby.

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Despite these warnings, "people are going to make up their minds," says George Cohen, MD, editor of "Guide to Your Child's Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence," to be published in January 2000 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The book discusses bed-sharing as an option for parents, pointing out its risks and ways to minimize them. "In my personal opinion, bed-sharing is fine if people understand what they are doing," Cohen says.

Sharing a Room

In response to the findings by Nakamura and her colleagues, the SIDS Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports research and public education on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, offered a compromise. "It would seem that room sharing, such as keeping baby's bassinet next to the parent's bed ... [is] the best way to maximize all the benefits and minimize all the dangers associated with bed-sharing," says the organization in a written statementreleased the same day as the study.

Though they are well aware of the warnings, McLean and Sherline say they remain unconvinced that they should keep their children out of their bed for safety reasons. "We know that it kind of goes in waves," Sherline says. "During this decade it's acceptable to sleep with your child, the next it's not," he explains.

But Sherline says he and his wife have other reasons for not wanting to share their bed. "We swore it would not happen again," Sherline says, referring to their bed-sharing with daughter Mara. In addition to a loss of privacy, sharing their bed meant less sleep for the couple, he adds.

Getting Mara to sleep in her own bed in her own room took several months, Sherline says. That experience alone may keep Little Lee sleeping safely in his crib until he, like his big sister, is ready for his own bed in his own room and his parents are able to enjoy their privacy, again.

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