Talking about infant mortality is something that most of us try to avoid at all costs, but it's a necessary topic of discussion. In the 90s research was done on sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS. Studies found that laying babies on their backs while they're sleeping could reduce the amount of fatalities. Since that knowledge became widespread, the rate of SIDS dropped dramatically, but it hasn't wiped it out entirely. Thousands of babies sadly pass away due to the syndrome every year in America. The American Academy of Paediatrics changed its safe sleeping advice in 2016 to include crucial recommendations.
PREVIOUSLY: WAYS TO BE SIDS SAFE
The Academy recommend that infants sleep in the parent's bedrooms for at least the first six months, or even better, a year. However, they were quick to state that this should be in a separate crib or cot and not in the same bed as the parents. The advice also went on to state that the crib is safety proofed, with no bumpers, animals, pillows, or blankets to avoid the risk of suffocation. While sharing a room with your baby for a year can seem like a daunting prospect that is sure to cause sleep deprivation and put a strain on the relationship of the parents, there are several studies that link a lower risk of SIDS with room sharing.
Scientists are still trying to understand what causes SIDS. According to one Dr. Goodstein, when babies sleep in the same room as their parents the background sounds or stirrings prevent very deep sleep, going a long way to keep the baby safe. Co-sleeping in the same room also makes breastfeeding easier, which has been known to have a protective factor against the syndrome. Another doctor, Ian M. Paul believes that the most pivotal time for parents to bunk up with their tots is early on in infancy.
"It's clear that room sharing is protective against SIDS in the first four to six months. After that there was no hard data to support that room sharing without bed sharing was any safer than the baby sleeping in their own room."