NEW parents have been warned not to sleep in the same bed as tots after a rise in baby deaths related to co-sleeping.
The trauma team at Cook Children's hospital in Texas, US, has seen 30 infant deaths related to unsafe sleeping situations in the past 15 months – the highest number of unsafe sleep deaths in the last eight years.
In most cases, the infant was co-sleeping with a parent or caregiver, who woke up to find the child unresponsive.
About 3,400 babies in the US die of SIDS – also known as cot death – each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the cause of death is not always clear and often cannot be prevented, at least 905 of those deaths were attributed to accidental suffocation in 2020.
In the UK, around 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year, according to the NHS.
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Candle Johnson, a paediatric nurse at Cook Children’s Renaissance Neighborhood Clinic said even though many people find it easier to co-sleep with their children, it's not safe.
"No one can control their body function once they’re sleeping. When you’re in a deep sleep and your infant is next to you, you’re not able to say ‘I won’t roll over on them," she explained.
An infant can get wedged between the headboard and mattress, suffocate under blankets, or come under the adult’s body if they’re sleeping together, Candle said.
Trauma records at Cook Children’s list a variety of other circumstances too, including babies placed on a pillow with a propped bottle, in the crib with a blanket or pillow, in a recliner or on the couch next to a sleeping adult, or wearing a loose T-shirt that covered their face.
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By the time these infants arrived at the medical centre, they were in cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
She said the cost-of-living crisis could be driving the increase in bed-related deaths as parents struggle to afford a separate crib.
New research has found that using specially made baby cot, called a Pēpi-pod, can reduce the risk of death in infants by 22 per cent.
Pēpi-pods, are a small portable plastic bed which creates a zone of physical protection for a baby within a shared bed with parents.
They are purpose built beds which allow babies to sleep with parents safely.
The programme, conducted by several Australian Universities and health organisations, involved 900 families with babies from Australia, between 2010 and 2018.
Parents were given a Pēpi-pod along with personalised education about infant breathing and safe sleeping strategies.
The experts found an astounding 75 per cent reduction in the infant mortality rate in areas with the highest level of community participation in the program.
In June, a corner concluded that the death of a newborn could have been prevented if a pēpi-pod was used.
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