Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

More parents are sleeping with their baby, and some experts are concerned.

According to the LA Times, a new study has found that the number of infants sharing a bed with adults has more than doubled, especially among black and Hispanic families.

That has researchers worried, because bed-sharing has been linked to a higher rate of sudden infant death syndrome or “SIDS.”  SIDS is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under the age of 1 where an autopsy cannot determine a cause of death.

No one knows what causes SIDS, but doctors believe it has to do a baby’s with a baby’s ability to wake up (known as sleep arousal) and a problem the baby’s body may have in detecting a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 4,000 infants die of no immediate, obvious cause. They estimate that about half of these deaths are due to SIDS, making it the leading cause of death for infants between birth and 12 months.

A previous study linked bed-sharing with a five-fold increase in SIDS risk.

Researchers found that bed-sharing rates have gone up from 6.5 percent in 1993 to 13.5 percent today.

White caregivers were less likely to share a bed with their children compared to black and Hispanic caregivers.

More than half of parents surveyed said they did not receive advice from a medical professional about the dangers of sharing their bed with their baby.  Those who were warned about the risks were more likely to heed that advice.

To learn more about SIDS, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at

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