Researchers suggest that around 74 percent of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is due to bed-sharing with adults.
A latest study has analyzed some factors that are linked to sleep related deaths in infants less than four months old. The study reveals that bed-sharing with adults is the top risk factor as infants suffocate from objects in the sleep area such as pillows and blankets.
The researchers relied on death data of over 8,200 infants from 24 U.S. states that were collected between 2004 and 2012. The data was put together by the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths Case Reporting System.
Around 69 percent of the infants died when they were sharing beds with adults. The research findings suggest that deaths of around 73.8 percent of younger infants below the age of four months was due to bed-sharing.
Dr. Jeffrey Colvin of Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinic in Kansas City suggests that parents or infants, three months or younger, should be cautioned about the risks involved with bed-sharing. Parents should be warned that the sleeping area of their infants should be clear of objects. If an infant rolls, the chances of suffocation increases if there are objects in the sleeping area of the infant.
Rachel Moon, M.D., a pediatrician and SIDS researcher at Children's National Health Hospital, who is also an author of the study, wrote an email to The Huffington Post that says bed-sharing for infants less than four months is "extremely risky."
"Although we always recommend that the infant's sleep area be clear of pillows, blankets, bumper pads, etc., many parents forget the importance of this message as the baby gets older," says Moon.
The Canadian Paediatric Society reiterated its suggestions for safe sleeping environments for infants.
"The recommended practice of independent sleeping will likely continue to be the preferred sleeping arrangement for infants in Canada, but a significant proportion of families will still elect to sleep together," per a statement by Canadian Paediatric Society.
The latest findings reinforces that infants should sleep in the same room as parents but not share beds with parents.