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Cot death warning over co-sleeping

Parents who sleep with their babies are putting the children at risk of cot death, according to a new study which revealed more than half of unexplained infant deaths happen this way.

Research by also found that drugs and alcohol were factors in causing parents to fall asleep with their babies, known as co-sleeping.

Researchers from Bristol and Warwick universities studied all unexpected infant deaths in the south west of England from January 2003 to December 2006.

They found that of the 80 deaths studied, 54% happened when the baby had been sleeping with a parent.

In 31% of these cases, the parent had consumed alcohol or drugs. Co-sleeping on sofas also proved to carry a high risk factor, with 17% of the deaths happening this way.

A fifth of the cot deaths recorded happened when babies were given a pillow, while a quarter happened when the baby was swaddled, a new risk factor according to the study.

The study concluded that the safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months of its life was in a cot beside the parental bed.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Medical Journal

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

" I would agree with the above information about cot death. I think the first 12 months of its life was in a baby cot beside the parental bed will be better for the safety of child as well bonding to parent child relation" - Name and address supplied

"I agree to this danger; but on the other hand you hear/read about the benefits of bonding to babies that sleep with their mothers on the same bed. We also encounter many families that live in a single room who have no space to even accommodate a Moses basket let alone a cot. Very difficult when discussing SIDs in cases like this" - Name and address supplied

"Yes, especially those from different cultural backgrounds living in the UK. My husband comes originally from Kosova where it is customary to swaddle babies and cover the cot completely so you cannot see the baby at all - I find this very distressing when I am there on holiday" - Tracey Ismaili, Clacton-On-Sea