A new analysis published by BMJ has been launched today that finds that bed sharing with parents increases the risk of sudden unexplained infant death (SIDS) fivefold in babies younger than 3 months old, even if the parents are non-smokers.
NCT’s Senior Policy Adviser, Rosemary Dodds said:
“Around half of all parents in the UK sleep with their baby in bed some of the time, either in a planned or accidental way. It is important that parents are fully informed and given information that is tailored to their individual circumstances. This includes the risks associated with sharing a bed with a very young or premature baby, as well as the increased risks to a young baby sleeping in a room alone. However, NCT does not support a universal instruction not to bed share as it could lead to an increased likelihood that a parent or carer inadvertently falls asleep while holding the baby, in a chair or on a sofa, which is much less safe for the infant.
More than 300 babies a year die in the UK as a result of SIDS. These deaths are concentrated among more disadvantaged families and in environments where there is smoking, alcohol or substance abuse.
It is important that effort is focused where it will have most effect. NCT would like to see the government do more to reduce poverty and disadvantage among parents of babies and young children, and strengthen its efforts to support smoking cessation and avoidance of alcohol during pregnancy and at the early stages of a child’s life.”