UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative statement on new research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and bed-sharing
Following the publication of new research on risk factors involved in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and subsequent media coverage, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative has issued the following statement. The SWISS study, designed to investigate the factors associated with SIDS in 0-2 year-olds, draws a clear link between increased risk of SIDS and alcohol or drug use when co-sleeping with a baby, particularly on a sofa.
The study, examining 80 SIDS infants and two control groups, one randomly selected, one of babies at high-risk of SIDS, showed that many of the deaths in a co-sleeping situation could be explained by “a significant multivariable interaction between co-sleeping and recent parental use of alcohol or drugs (31 per cent v 3 per cent random controls) and the increased proportion of SIDS infants who had co-slept on a sofa (17 per cent v 1 per cent).” Other significant factors included pillow use, swaddling, smoking during pregnancy, whether the infant was preterm and whether the infant was in fair or poor health for the last sleep.
The authors conclude that “the major influences on risk were from factors amenable to change within the infant’s sleeping environment….Parents need to be advised never to put themselves in a situation where they might fall asleep with a young infant on a sofa. Parents also need to be reminded that they should never co-sleep with an infant in any environment if they have consumed alcohol or drugs.”