– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – A concerning number of parents are co-sleeping with babies in “dangerous” circumstances.
Researchers from The Lullaby Trust have conducted a survey of over 8,500 parents and found that 76 per cent have co-slept with their infant at some point.
However, 40 per cent of those questioned admitted having slept next to their children in potentially unsafe situations, like on a sofa, with such a setting greatly increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cot death.
“Co-sleeping on a sofa or armchair was the most prevalent risk, with 40 per cent of parents admitting to having done so and 25 per cent having done so more than once,” a spokesperson for the charity said. “An adult falling asleep on a sofa or armchair with a baby increases the risk of SIDS by up to 50 times.”
The experts also reported that 12 per cent of respondents will smoke and then share a bed with their baby and nine per cent have done so after drinking alcohol. Prior studies have found that bed-sharing with babies after drinking alcohol, smoking or using drugs has a very high risk of SIDS.
Jenny Ward, acting chief executive officer of The Lullaby Trust, said that it is critical that all new parents receive advice on co-sleeping in a safe manner.
“It is a reality that even if parents do not plan to co-sleep, many still fall asleep with their babies unintentionally,” she commented. “Babies can and do die in high-risk co-sleeping situations. If given the right advice, parents can prepare for planned and unplanned co-sleeping that will help to mitigate those risks and reduce the chance of SIDS.”
Accordingly, advisers recommend always putting a baby to sleep on their back, clearing the space of pillows and duvets, avoiding letting pets or other children in their bed, and making sure the baby cannot fall out or become trapped between a mattress and a wall.