Co-sleeping Debate Goes On

New reports urge raising awareness


Two new reports on co-sleeping with a baby were released this week, adding to the confusion that seems to dog this practice.

In Britain, University of Bristol researchers found that sharing a bed with a child 6 months or younger does not increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the Telegraph newspaper reports. However, it is dangerous if other risk factors—including alcohol, drugs, adult bedding or extreme tiredness—are involved.

Experts said the findings show it's not co-sleeping that is unsafe but the circumstances that create risks, the Telegraph reports. The same study also suggests infants are at greatest risk if their parents fall asleep with them on the couch.

Child care experts and midwives were pleased about the study after long promoting co-sleeping as a useful method for bonding and breastfeeding. However, SIDS experts still recommend parents remain cautious about bed sharing. We have plenty of information on how to prevent SIDS.

Meanwhile, Texas officials Wednesday revealed that 170 children, almost all younger than 6 months old, died while co-sleeping with a parent, sibling or older caregiver in fiscal 2008, according to The Houston Chronicle. The state Department of Family and Protective Services report stopped short of urging parents not to share a bed with their children, with officials emphasizing raising awareness about risks.

Fit Pregnancy promotes co-sleeping as a viable option for parents as long as precautions are followed. For more tips on how to accomplish bed sharing safely, read up on The Family Bed.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.