Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Could co-sleeping kill your baby?

My mom sent me this article. (Aside: Do your parents send you articles all the time? It used to annoy me no end when it was on the perils of smoking cigarettes, but I'm rather enjoying the parenting articles! I'm pretty lucky to have supportive parents.) Anyway, having read a bunch on attachment parenting at this point, co-sleeping is regularly suggested as a way to bond, and to let your child know that you will always be there when s/he needs you. It builds trust.

I plan on having one of those foam "drawers" on my bed... I don't know what they are called, but they are rectangular, and have four little walls around the sides, and it's made out of soft foamy material and covered with waterproof material... Anyway, my cousin has one for my Godson and he loves it. Also, it provides a "sacred space" that I would not be able to roll over into. I'm a pretty good sleeper though, I'm used to having my dogs on all sides and never squash them. In fact, often I wake up to find myself petting them gently around the face or tummy :-)

Here's part of the article but as it's quite long, you can find the rest at The Washington Post:

"More Accidental Infant Deaths Blamed on Suffocation in Bed

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter
Monday, January 26, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Even while the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the United States has declined, the rate of infant deaths from accidental suffocation in bed has quadrupled, a new study reports.

Such deaths have been most common among black boy babies younger than 4 months, according to the study, published in the February issue of Pediatrics.

The authors said the increase might be due to differences in classification rules and methods among medical examiners and coroners.

But, regardless, the message to parents and caregivers stays the same.

"The safest sleep environment for an infant is one that's close to the parent on a separate sleep surface," said study author Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an epidemiologist in the division of reproductive health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Infants should always be placed to sleep on their back on a firm mattress, and the sleep surface should be free of pillows, quilts, comforters and stuffed animals."

Another issue related to infant deaths is co-sleeping, the term for when a baby sleeps with a parent, sibling or caregiver.

"The concern has as much to do with parental behavior," said Dr. Thomas G. DeWitt, director of the division of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "If you're a deep, sound sleeper, or if you're on medication or if you're drinking, then it's really a bad idea to have the baby in the bed with you."

The United States ranks 29th in the world in infant mortality, according to data released in October for 2004. It ranked 27th in 2000, 23rd in 1990 and 12th in 1960.

Accidental strangulation or suffocation in bed is one of a number of conditions included under the umbrella term "sudden, unexpected infant deaths."

Such deaths can be caused by a baby sleeping on soft bedding such as a pillow or waterbed, a parent rolling on top of a baby while asleep, a baby getting stuck between a mattress and a wall or bed frame, or a baby catching his or her head between crib railings.

For their study, the authors examined data from death certificates for U.S. infants 1 year old and younger.

In the two decades from 1984 to 2004, infant death rates attributed to strangulation or suffocation in bed jumped fourfold, from 2.8 deaths per 100,000 live births to 12.5 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The biggest increase occurred between 1996 and 2004, when strangulation/suffocation deaths rose 14 percent. During this time, sudden, unexpected infant death rates overall remained relatively stable, with a possible trend downward after 2003, and deaths attributable to SIDS actually declined.

The decrease in SIDS has been attributed largely to the national "back to sleep" campaign, launched in 1999.

Strangulation or suffocation deaths, which occurred while the children were sleeping in beds, cribs or couches, were highest among black male babies younger than 4 months. Overall, black babies had a higher mortality rate from this type of death than did white babies (27.3 deaths per 100,000 births compared with 8.5 deaths per 100,000 births), and the rate was higher for boys than girls (12.5 vs. 9.6 deaths per 100,000 live births).

"That there's such a disparity between black versus white is important," DeWitt said. "The disproportion that we know happens in SIDS continues in this category as well."

Strangulation and suffocation deaths appear most common in infants 3 months old and younger, with most deaths occurring at 1 month of age. And they occur more often from Sunday through Wednesday than during the second half of the week.

"It seems that medical examiners or coroners seem to be moving away from SIDS as a diagnosis and more likely to report suffocation as the cause of death," said Shapiro-Mendoza. "We don't know the exact reason. It could have to do with better death investigation or stricter adherence to SIDS definition."

National death-scene guidelines for sudden, unexpected infant deaths were released in 1996, intended to standardize investigations and make them more user-friendly.

"One of the caveats here is: Was there truly an increase, or is there a more careful assessment of unexpected infant death cases?" Dewitt asked. "It's hard to know."


Sarah said...

I love most of the ideas of attachment parenting but the co-sleeping scares me. The idea of a tiny little infant between my big ol' hubby and I just gives me the chills.

I think its more a response to my sleep style, I throw the covers off of me many times during the night and all it would take would for me to do that once, cover her face and well, lets not think of that.

My compromise is a side bed sleeper, wish me luck!

Little Fat Duck said...

I have just started reading your blog but find it very insightfull and interesting. As for the whole parenting thing.. My husband was in Iraq for the first 6 months of our daughters life. In that time I co slept every single night. I am a heavy sleeper but found that the knowledge that she was in the bed made me more cautious (sp?) even in my sleep. My husband despised the idea, saying it wasnt safe, but when he returned home he came to realise that a) it was easier for me to feed her when she was close by, b) everyone slept 100% when we were close in a family unit and c) this was a way for our daughter to get used to him and bond with him after he missed so much of the start of her life. Those little drawer things you talk about are brilliant! I wish i had had one lol we just used a boomerang pillow , but it would have been 100% easier with one of those! Good luck with everything

Single PAP said...

i didn't read your attached article but i have been doing some reading on the subject and i am convinced that my child will for sure sleep in the same room with me, possibly in the same bed. most other cultures practice co-sleeping and with the greater needs of attachment in adoption it makes sense to me. can you do a post of the foam drawers your Godson uses cause i have no idea what you are talking about. i was just thinking of taking my queen sized bed off the frame and having us both sleep on it...

Single PAP said...

oh, and yes, i get articles all the time!!

Kiki said...

The foam drawer you are talking about is actually a hand-me down to him from me so I know all about it. It's actually from Leaps & Bounds (one of those websites I told you about with cool baby gear) and it's actually a travelling toddler bed. It's not really designed for infants. And the whole reason our nephew has it is because when he is being cared for by the grandparents, they have big comfy comforters on their beds and although he can't roll yet, my brother and sister-in-law were worried that he'd suffocate in the comforter. This provides a harder surface with no blankets on it so he can't pull covers over his face while he sleeps. Once he starts to be able to crawl they are going to have to get a crib for him if he is going to sleep at their house.

That being said, the co-sleeping scares me a little too. Especially since you have that breathing apparatice on at night. Only you know how deeply you sleep, but like the previous poster above said, you might not roll onto her but you might throw blankets on her face without realizing it. I also really fear the dogs jumping on her. Scary.

Now, I'm sort of like the pot calling the kettle black because we tried not to, but ended up co-sleeping a little bit with our children because of shear exhaustion. It was easier to nurse and have the baby right next to me and I could sort of doze while I was nursing. However, as you know, I now have two of the worst sleepers ever! And our 9 year old still needs someone to lie down with him to fall asleep at night!

My brother and sister-in-law are very firm about not sleeping with their 4 month old and they've been getting 6-7 hours straight sleep each night. That's just heaven when you have a little one. Being a single parent you should definitely think about how sleep deprivation is going to play a part of your decision. If your daughter is already pretty good at sleeping on her own I wouldn't change it once she arrives at your house just for bonding reasons. I think you can bond more and better when she is awake. I doubt that when she is alseep she will be very concious that you are lying next to her.

I have an Indian friend at work that told me about a cool contraption that they use, that is sort of a cloth sling that they hang from the ceiling in their room, like a mini hammock I suppose, and the baby sleeps in there. She is close to the mother but not in the same bed. If she stirs a little at night all the Mom has to do is rock her gently in the swingy type thing. She said there is hardly any cases of SIDs in India and it may be because of these contraptions? Anyway, worth looking into. I can find out more if you are interested.

Oh, BTW, my articles are always about kids eating too much sugar and being hyper. Fun stuff. NOT!

PS please excuse typos and spelling mistakes. I miss having spell check in these blogs.

Kiki said...

Here's the link for the travel bed thing you were talking about.