More babies share parents' beds despite SIDS risks - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

More babies share parents' beds despite SIDS risks

Posted: Updated:

CHICAGO (AP) - The government's latest infant bed-sharing numbers show a troubling trend: the percentage of U.S. babies sleeping with parents or another child more than doubled since the early 1990s, despite public health messages linking the practice with sudden infant death syndrome.

Nearly 14 percent of adults, mostly mothers, surveyed in 2010 said their infants usually shared a bed, either with parents or another child, instead of sleeping alone in a crib. That was up from about 7 percent in 1993, and the increase was mainly among blacks and Hispanics. The practice had leveled off among whites after an increase in the 1990s.

Bed-sharing was most common among blacks; nearly one-third of those surveyed said their infants usually shared a bed.

"That's a concern because we know that blacks are at increased risk for SIDS," said study co-author Marian Willinger of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. "We want to eliminate as many risks as we can for everybody, particularly in that population where we're seeing increasing disparities."

SIDS refers to deaths in the first year of life that remain unexplained after autopsies and thorough investigations of the death scene and infants' medical history.

Accidental suffocation in bed is also more common among black infants, although the study didn't examine infant deaths or accidents associated with bed-sharing.

The study was published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

The government began annual surveys on infant sleep practices in 1993, after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS. The new study analyzed 1993-2010 telephone surveys involving nearly 19,000 parents with infants up to 7 months old. More than half the participants since 2006 said doctors had never mentioned bed-sharing or its risks.

"That in and of itself is kind of shocking ... because the recommendations have long been out," said SIDS expert Dr. Fern R. Hauck, a family medicine professor at the University of Virginia.

About 2,000 U.S. infants died from SIDS in 2010 and the rate has been flat for the past few years. Causes are unknown but circumstances that increase risks include premature birth, parents' smoking and sleeping on soft surfaces with pillows and blankets. Many doctors think bed-sharing is risky because sleeping parents could roll onto infants, or they could get tangled in loose bedding.

A JAMA Pediatrics editorial questions whether bed-sharing per se is dangerous, citing a study that found many SIDS infants had slept on sofas - potentially riskier than beds - with parents who smoked or had been drinking, factors that could have contributed. Bed-sharing has benefits including making it easier for moms to breast-feed at night, the editorial says.

The pediatricians' group recommends that infants sleep near parents' bed to facilitate breast-feeding and supports government-sponsored campaigns emphasizing that placing babies to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress and not in a bed shared with others is the safest sleep practice.

Those efforts are credited with reducing the number of infants placed to sleep on their stomachs since the 1990s but appear to have had little effect on bed-sharing.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:34 GMT
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
  • Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
  • Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms