There are safety measures you have to take no matter where your baby sleeps. To put your baby in a crib you have rules. Common sense rules like no heavy blankets, pillows, toys, bumpers, gaps in the mattress, bars of a certain width, etc.
Cosleeping has safety rules too: do not drink or smoke before bed, sleep on a firm mattress or futon, no heavy blankets or pillows, don’t sleep with the baby if you have sleep apnea or if your bed is too small, put your mattress on the floor, etc.
It isn’t “cosleeping” that causes death, its the unthinking parent that goes to bed tipsy and rolls over onto the baby, or the parent that hasn’t bothered to take a good look at their fluffy bedding. Or the parent that doesn’t cosleep at all- their baby is in a crib thank you very much but one night they are so exhausted and at their wits end and bring baby into their bed, only to have tragedy strike because they aren’t used to baby being there.
So why all the attention? Money, I’m sure. The studies you see being thrown around in the news are skewed. No! Surely not. That never happens, right? These campaigns aren’t about the safety of our babies. These campaigns are about you buying cribs. According to the Ask Dr. Sears website:
“Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.”
Wow. So the people telling us we have to buy cribs are the people that sell the cribs. I have four children and I’ve NEVER bought or used a crib. (Except for Cooper, who spends part of the night in his p&p but that is a different story.) I know lots of people that are the same. This isn’t about “raising awareness” or “getting us talking about it” or the health and safety of our children. It is about getting you to buy a crib.
Here are some real statistics according the The Baby Bond’s Fact sheet:
Number of U.S. births year 2000: 4,058,814
Total infant deaths year 2000: 28,411
Age birth to 1 year. (6.9 per thousand)
Number SIDS deaths year 2000: 2,523
Defined as death with unexplained cause, birth to 1 year.
Total suffocation deaths year 2000: 1,000
Number of crib-related “accidents”/yr: 50
Number of playpen-related deaths/yr: 16
Number deaths/yr attributed to overlying: 19 Most are only “suspected.”
Number of babies (0-2) dying in night fires/yr: 230 Many of which may have been retrievable if next to parent, not in another room of home. This is true for abductions and other night dangers as well.
Number of deaths/yr in adult beds reported as entrapment/suffocation between bed and wall, headboard, or other furniture, on waterbed, in headboard railings, or tangled in bedding: 18 With side-rail: 1 That’s 19 of the 60.
Number of deaths/yr reported as suffocation of unknown cause in adult bed: 13
These would be SIDS if in a crib. Remember, these do not necessarily involve cosleeping.
Number of deaths/yr in adult beds from prone sleeping: 5
Again, these are considered SIDS in cribs, and they are preventable in adult beds, as in cribs.
4/yr died not from falling out of adult bed, but from suffocating (pile of clothes, plastic bag) or other danger (such as drowning) after falling out.
13% of U.S. infants are routinely cosleeping with nearly 50% sharing bed for part
of the nights. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 2000 Survey.
“Why does our nation rank only 42nd in infant survival?* in the industrialized world (some non-reporting nations are thought to rank better than us as well)? Our difference from the best-ranking nations is a high predominance of formula feeding, isolated sleep, and medical intervention. The highest cosleeping/breastfeeding nations rank with half our overall infant death rate (and negligable SIDS rates). Remember we rank #1 in medical intervention.”
So is cosleeping dangerous? Yes, if done without care or thought. So think. Use the mind that the creator (whoever she/he is) gave you and think about what you are doing with your babies. Don’t blindly follow trends or advice from ads plastered on bus shelters. Do research and make informed decisions with a big dollop of common sense tailored to your own little family’s needs.