Baby sleeping in mom’s room? Study says current recommendations are unsafe, lead to poor sleep – USA TODAY

Babies who sleep in the same room as their parents beyond six months could be at increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a new Penn State College of Medicine study reports.

The data published in Pediatrics this month goes against American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, which encourages parents to share a room until the child is 1-year-old. Room sharing does not mean sharing a bed. The AAP says when babies are sleeping in a crib or bassinet in the same room as their parents for a year or at least six months, the risk of SIDS decreases by 50%. SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby, also known as crib death, because it most commonly occurs when the baby is sleeping. The cause isn’t known, but risks have been identified. 

The Penn State study, which surveyed 279 moms who delivered at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, said six months of room sharing is justified, but time beyond that disrupts a child’s sleep, and could lead to unsafe sleep habits. The most troubling new data showed parent-baby bed sharing, when Mom or Dad brings baby in bed with them for a period of time, was four times more common among those who shared a room. 

“Our findings showing poorer sleep-related outcomes and more unsafe sleep practices for babies who room-share beyond early infancy suggest that the American Academy of Pediatrics should reconsider and revise the recommendation pending evidence to support it,” said lead author Ian Paul in a statement.

The study reported at 9 months, babies sleeping in their own rooms slept 40 minutes more nightly than room-sharers.

“Inadequate infant sleep can lead to obesity, poor sleep later in life and can negatively affect parents,” Paul said in a statement.

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