New Tip to Help Babies Avoid SIDS
Study on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Shows Parents Shouldn't Sleep With Babies on Couches
Jan. 17, 2006 -- Parents and babies shouldn't sleep together on the same
couch, according to a new study on SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
The study shows a rise in SIDS deaths among babies who shared a couch with a
"Although the reason for the rise in deaths when a parent sleeps with
their infant on a sofa are still unclear, we strongly recommend that parents
avoid this sleeping environment," write the researchers. They included
Peter Blair, PhD, of the Institute of Child Life and Health at England's
University of Bristol.
The recommendation is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics' , which includes discouraging parents from sharing
beds with their children.
SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant who is less than 1 year
old, with no explanation for the baby's death after a thorough
Blair's study, published in The Lancet, was done in the British
county of Avon.
From 1984-2003, the study team learned of 369 unexpected infant deaths and
interviewed the babies' parents as soon after those deaths as possible.
Investigations blamed SIDS for 300 of the deaths.
SIDS cases dropped over the years -- probably because of a British campaign
to teach people about SIDS prevention by placing infants on their backs for
sleep. Although the number of SIDS deaths with parental bed-sharing has gone
down, the number of SIDS deaths involving parents and babies sleeping together
on a couch has gone up.
Those cases were still rare. The study shows one case in 1984-1988, compared
with four from 1999-2003.
By the study's end, SIDS was most common among babies born to low-income
families, single mothers, younger mothers, and mothers who smoke. Babies who
died of SIDS also tended to be their mother's firstborn child, between 1 month
and 8 months old when they died, and had had a lower birth weight.