If you’re a new mom like I am, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is probably often top-of-mind:
“Open a window before she gets too hot and dies!” (Said in 60-degree weather)
“OMG, take that blanket off the baby before she suffocates!”
“A doll?! Are you NUTS?! Get that death trap OUT OF MY DAUGHTER’S BASSINET!”
Well, better crazy-paranoid than sorry, given that 3,000 infants die of SIDS each year. Also better to be educated, despite what Paris Hilton may be teaching young girls, so I thought I’d share the latest study results regarding sudden infant deaths.
Since the launch of SIDS public awareness campaigns letting parents know they could reduce the risk of death by giving up their Marlboro Reds, having infants sleep on their backs rather than on their tummies and eliminating all objects from the baby’s bed, the incidence of SIDS has decreased significantly. But questions, and sudden deaths, still remain. To help find answers, a team of researchers led by Peter Fleming of St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, Britain, studied 80 unexplained SIDS cases that occurred from 2003 through 2006.
Their research revealed that co-sleeping is a key culprit; in fact, a whopping 54 percent died while sleeping in the same bed or sofa with a parent — especially, not surprisingly, when the parent is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Sleeping with a baby on a sofa or chair is especially hazardous:
“It is really important that parents should not fall asleep with their baby on a sofa as it is very, very dangerous,” Dr. Fleming said. “It is 25 times more risky than having a baby in bed with you. After parents have fed a baby, it is really important they put them back in their cot.”
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, also noted that one-fourth of the infants who died were swaddled, for whatever that’s worth, and one fifth used a pillow, a far higher percentage than in either control group.
So, folks, do NOT drink and co-sleep! (With a baby, that is. With that cute guy from IT who keeps flirting with you… well, that’s your business.)