Bed-sharing among risks for sleeping infants: study

Kansas City, MO – Risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths may differ by specific age groups, according to a study from the Kansas City Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.

Researchers analyzed more than 8,200 sleep-related deaths in 24 states from 2004 to 2012. They divided the cases into two groups, one from 0 to 3 months old and the other from 4 to 12 months.

Bed-sharing was the predominant risk factor for the younger group, occurring in 73.8 percent of the deaths. Younger victims were more likely to have been sleeping in an adult bed or on a person (51.6 percent), while the second most common sleep location was a crib, bassinet or playpen (24.6 percent).

Among older infants, researchers said, the predominant risk factor was rolling into objects in the sleep area. Infants 4-12 months old were more likely than those in the younger group to suffer a sleep-related death associated with the presence of blankets, stuffed toys, bags, hard furniture and cords. Researchers said it is important for parents to know how to limit risk factors for their infants.

The study was published in the August issue of Pediatrics.