New warning about bed sharing

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) stresses the dangers of sharing a bed with your baby

If you share a bed with your baby or fall asleep with your little one on the sofa, his life may be at risk warns the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), together with coroners and pathologists around the country.

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New data from Dr Marta Cohen, paediatric pathologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, revealed that of the 50 cases she investigated between 2004 – 2007, 31 were found to have been sharing a bed or sofa with a parent.

Dr Chris Wright, consultant perinatal pathologist, at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, examined 15 cases of unexpected death in infants 2008 – 2009. 7 were found in the parental bed and two had died on a sofa.

In the London area between 2005 – 2008,173 babies died suddenly and unexpectedly. 85 of these infants were found dead after falling asleep in bed with an adult or on a sofa. Over the last year, FSID has supported 32 newly bereaved families whose babies had died in this way.

The charity’s advice is that the safest place for your baby to sleep – night and day is in a crib or cot in a room with you for the first six months.

It’s especially dangerous for your baby to sleep in your bed if you (or your partner):

  • are a smoker (even if you never smoke in bed or at home)
  • have been drinking alcohol 
  • take medication or drugs that make you drowsy 
  • feel very tired

or if your baby

  • was premature (born before 37 weeks) 
  • had a low birthweight (under 2.5kg) 
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Dr Chris Wright, says, “In the majority of cases of sudden infant deaths in the North East, babies have been found not in their own cots, but in adult beds surrounded by duvets and pillows or after falling asleep with a carer on a sofa. Although we cannot prevent all unexpected deaths, ensuring that your baby sleeps in its own cot in a room with you, will undoubtedly lessen the chance of such a tragedy occurring.”

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