Baby bed-sharing risk

Sharing a bed with a newborn increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome fivefold, new research claims. One mum from South Yorkshire whose baby died in 2007 is campaigning to make sure all mums know the risks.

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Professor: Increased risk 'for all babies who bed share'

Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that the number of cot deaths in the UK could be reduced if parents did not share beds with their children.

Authors examined data from five studies on cot death, including the records of 1,472 cot death cases and 4,679 control cases.

Research showed that babies who slept in their parents' beds had a five-fold increase of cot death compared to children who slept in a cot in the parents' room.

Although it is clear that smoking and drinking greatly increase the risk of cot death while bed sharing, our study shows that there is in fact an increased risk for all babies under three months who bed share, even if their parents do not smoke or drink.

If parents were made aware of the risks of sleeping with their baby, and room sharing was instead promoted in the same way that the 'Back to Sleep' campaign was promoted 20 years ago to advise parents to place their newborn infants to sleep on their backs, we could achieve a substantial reduction in cot death rates in the UK.

– PROFESSOR BOB CARPENTER, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE

NICE: safest place for baby to sleep is their own cot

A Nice spokesman said guidance on the care of women and babies after birth is currently being reviewed.

Any death of a child is a tragedy and one that any parent and health professional would want to prevent. Sleeping alongside a baby increases the risks to the child - including death.

We currently recommend that doctors, midwives and nurses should warn parents of the risks of sleeping alongside a baby in a bed.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot in their parents' room for the first six months.

– NICE spokesman

South Yorkshire mother campaigning to highlight cot death risks

Alex Richardson, who died from cot death

Sharing a bed with a newborn increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by five times, new research claims.

Nicola Richardson's baby Alex died at 16 months from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - commonly known as cot death.

Six years on the mother from Penistone is still campaigning to highlight all the risk factors which contribute to cot death.

For more information on the risk factors visit http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/

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