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If babies sleep in the parents' bed, the risk of sudden child death increases
For many parents it goes without saying that their child sleeps in their bed for the first few months of life, but this increases the risk of sudden child death significantly, the warning in a recent article in the British Medical Journal. The research team led by Robert Carpenter of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had recently evaluated five previous studies on the causes of sudden child death and came to the conclusion that “88 percent of sudden child deaths that occurred during bed rest together , would not have happened if the bed had been avoided, ”reports the British trade magazine.
According to the authors, the recent recommendations in the UK must also be changed in view of the new findings, since it has previously been assumed that there is no risk for babies sleeping in their parents' bed as long as "no parent smokes, uses alcohol or drugs." But even under Under these conditions, the risk of sudden child death for children under the age of three months is around five times higher, Carpenter and colleagues report. The doctors suspect that the child is particularly overheating and breathing problems as possible causes of the significantly increased risk.
Sleeping in the parents' bed as a risk factor? The desire to have the newborn close at hand as constantly as possible is understandable. Sharing the parents' bed with the baby also makes nighttime breastfeeding easier, for example. In the UK, relief organizations like the National Childbirth Trust have even advocated sleeping together in their parents' bed over the past ten years, since the risk of sudden child death has been classified as "negligible" as long as both parents do not smoke, drink alcohol or drugs, Carpenter and colleagues report that the current study shows that the risk is by no means negligible, and that even if all known risk factors have been avoided, there is an increased likelihood of sudden child death, the doctors explain.
The risk of sudden infant death is three times higher. For their analysis, the scientists use the raw data from five previous case-control studies to create a combined data set of 1,472 cases of sudden infant death and 4,679 control persons. The original studies were a trans-European study and four national studies from Scotland, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany. Children up to the age of one year were taken into account. Even "in the best circumstances (i.e., breastfed infants with no parental risk factors), the risk of sudden infant death was 2.7 times higher when toddlers slept in bed with their parents," the researchers write. In the worst case, i.e. children who were bottle-fed and whose parents were smokers and alcohol users, the risk of sudden child death was 15.6 times higher, the Carpenter and colleagues write. Children under the age of three months were at the greatest risk. For them, sleeping with their parents in bed should generally be taboo, according to the researchers' conclusion.
Sudden child death is the most common cause of death in children under the age of one. Although the causes of the increased risk of sudden child death when sleeping in the parents' bed have not yet been fully clarified, various factors have been identified in the past, which apparently play an important role here. A connection with the not yet fully functional temperature regulation of the babies is usually suspected, but an increased risk of suffocation is also often attached as the cause of the risk of sudden child death when sleeping in the parents' bed. Fortunately, the overall number of cases is limited. Between 125 and 350 cases of sudden child death have been recorded in Germany in recent years. Even with these apparently small numbers of cases, sudden child death is the most common cause of death for babies in modern industrialized countries. Parents should therefore place special emphasis on avoiding all known risk factors.
Minimizing the risk of sudden child death In order to minimize the risk of sudden child death, which occurs in most cases during sleep, the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) recommends that the child is lying on its back, not with a blanket, but in a sleeping bag in its own To put bed to sleep. Pillows, cuddly toys and other items in the cot should be avoided. According to the BZgA, the room temperature should ideally be set to 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. The clothes should consist of a body and a pajamas above to avoid overheating the children. Caps or headgear should be avoided entirely. According to the BZgA, the pacifier is also said to have a preventive effect against sudden child death.
Parents who like to feel the closeness of their child during the night's sleep, but do not want to take the baby to bed due to the risk of sudden child death, can help themselves with a so-called baby balcony, which can be attached to the side of the parents bed and still give the children one secures separate area. (fp)
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