Bed sharing/Co-Sleeping and SIDS

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After reviewing this course the reader will be able to:
  • Define SIDS
  • Identify behaviors that increase the risk of SIDS
  • Identify safe sleeping environments for infants
  • Identify at risk populations for SIDS

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What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is an unexplainable/unexpected death of a healthy infant age 0-12 months.

  • There is no cause of death determined even after:
  • Death scene has been investigated
  • Autopsy completed
  • Review of the medical history

American Academy of Pediatric, 2008

                                            SIDS IS NOT PREDICTABLE

* Behaviors that increase SIDS risk:

  • Risk for adult over laying infant
  • Turning onto tummy and not being able to return to back
  • Becoming trapped by soft or loose bedding
  • Getting over heated
  • Being asphyxiated by the clothing of an adult smoker

Sobralske & Gruber, 2009

* Why parents choose tummy sleeping

  • It is thought that babies are more likely to choke or aspirate if the spit up when they are on their backs
  • Worry the the baby will not sleep as well
  • It is thought that babies sleep longer and have a deeper sleep
  • Fear that the baby will get a flat head or bald spots

Parents should be informed that these are only myths and that there is no proof that these myths are true.

Supervised tummy time is beneficial to baby and parent

* Tummy to Play and Back to Sleep

  • Promotes health physical and brain development
  • Strengthens neck, arm, and shoulder muscles
  • Helps to decrease the risk of head flattening or balding
  • Helps to form bonding through play between the baby and adult supervising

AAP, 2008

Sleeping on a cot beside the parent's bed is an example of a safe sleeping environment

* Safe sleeping environments for infants

  • Alone
  • Place on back for sleeping
  • Removal of any soft bedding (ex. pillows, quilts, comforters, sheep skins), no stuffed animals
  • Room sharing
  • Covers should be below chin or chest level

This is sleeping on a cot beside the parents' bed but not sleeping in the bed with parents.

* Populations at risk for SIDS

  • African Americans (2x greater risk)

The reason for this is based on genetics, the position baby is put to sleep, and bedsharing

  • American Indians (more than 2X greater risk)

This is due to exposure of secondhand smoke, drinking heave amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, and overdressing baby which leads to over heating.

  • Mothers who smoke during pregnancy (3X greater risk)
  • Breathing second hand smoke (2.5X greater risk)
  • Sleeping on tummy or on side (2-3X greater risk)
  • Placed on tummy to sleep when accustomed to sleeping on back
  • Rolling over onto tummy when accustomed to sleeping on back, and not being able to roll back onto back (18X greater risk)

* If co-sleeping is absolutely necessary

  • Use a firm mattress
  • Never co-sleep on a waterbed
  • Remove the railings and/or hard boards on your bed

Adult beds are not designed to meet the safety standards that a crib holds

  • Place mattress directly on floor

In case the baby were to roll off the bed this is a shorter distance to fall from

  • Do not place bed directly against wall

Baby could become trapped between the bed and the wall

  • Remove all heavy blankets from bed

Heavy blankets can put baby at risk for "rebreathing" if the blankets stay covered over the baby's mouth and nose. Rebreathing is when the baby rebreathes the exhaled CO2 which causes suffocation.

  • Remove all pillows from bed
  • Do no sleep on couch with baby

Baby could become trapped between the cushions

Children's Medical Center, 2008

Babies should not be forced to go to sleep and never wake up...

Lets put our babies to sleep safely

Teaching Method  |  Needs Assessment  |  Program Marketing  |  Course Evaluation

Informative Media Resources

SIDS Slideshow by Chris Towland - click link below

[SIDS slideshow|]

Healthy Child Care America (HCCA) Back to Sleep Campaign

Spanish and English versions

[HCCA Back to Sleep Campaignhttp|]

Mortality Morbidity Weekly Report 2002 - SIDS is the leading cause of Post Neonatal Deaths


[SIDS We Cannot Afford To Do Nothing-video is for adults only|]