As the most vulnerable member of a household, a baby should be the family’s number one priority at all times in matters of safety. This is especially true when handling a baby’s sleeping arrangements. However, there is a serious new problem rising dramatically in the past few years – parents placing their children in the bed with them and suffocating their baby unintentionally.
Deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have decreased significantly in recent years, since public health campaigns began to teach parents the proper ways to place their baby in his crib. But a new study of SIDS, provided by San Diego County with data spanning years 1991 to 2008, revealed concerning results regarding how parents have replaced placing their baby in a crib on his or her stomach, with placing the baby in the parents’ bed to sleep.
The study found that an infant’s chance of sleeping in the same bed as one or more adults had increased almost 20 percent. Infants found sleeping on an adult mattress without supervision also had increased slightly more than 20 percent.
Seventy-five percent of infant sleeping cases studied were found with at least one of the following risks:
• Incorrect sleep positions
• Bed sharing
• Overly soft bedding
• Toys in the crib
• Head covered
• Sleeping on an adult-size mattress or couch.
Studies show that the main reason babies have been found to be so vulnerable to SIDS risks is because of a lack of serotonin, a chemical within the brain that helps adjust breathing, temperature, sleeping, and other various motor functions, in their system.
“Avoiding simultaneous and multiple risk factors, especially those that compromise oxygen exchange in the sleeping environment,” will be one of the most important factors in preventing SIDS deaths, according to the San Diego County study.