KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a study released Monday morning, researchers have broken down the risks of SIDS — or Sudden Infant Death syndrome by age group. The study was co-authored by Dr. Jeffrey Colvin of Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital.
According to the study, the majority of infants who died from SIDS — 69 percent — were bed-sharing when they died.
“What we found is that the younger infants were particularly at risk for sharing a bed with an adult,” Colvin said. “We found out that the older children were at a particular risk at having an object such as a blanket or a quilt or a pillow in the crib with them.”
The study warns parents to not sleep with their infants. Babies ages zero to three months old are more at risk of dying if parents sleep with them. Newborns are more likely to die while sharing a bed compared with older babies. Older babies from the age of four months to under a year are more likely to die from objects left in their cribs.
Health officials and Colvin warn parents to make sure that cribs are clear of toys and pillows just in case the baby rolls over and into a pillow or another suffocation hazard like a toy, quilt or blanket.
The study also shows that nearly 74 percent compared to nearly 59 percent of younger infants are likely sleeping in bed with their parents compared to older infants.
“What I found most surprising was the percentage of young infants who are bed-sharing at the time of death — 75 percent (were) bed-sharing, and that’s just an incredible number,” Colvin said.
The risk of SIDS falls sharply by the time the baby turns six months old, but Colvin warns parents not to let their guard down.
“Parents need to know that bed-sharing with their young infant is a dangerous situation, and when the infant turns older they start to relax about keeping a safe environment for the child,” Colvin said. He added that when a child becomes older he or she is able to roll and/or crawl into a pillow left inside a crib and suffocate.
“It’s so tragic because these are perfectly healthy infants that no one would ever think at-risk for dying, and although we still don’t know exactly causes SIDS and other SIDS-related deaths, there are certainly ways the parents can help stop SIDS and to just follow the ABC’s of safe sleep,” Colvin said.
The ABCs of safe sleep are Alone, Back, Crib. Babies should sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib.