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Experts are warning parents about the dangers of co-sleeping, after a new study showed that 133 babies are accidentally dying every year while sleeping in their parents’ bed.
Shocking new figures collated by local authorities’ Child Death Overview Panel officials have revealed that three babies are tragically dying each week while sharing a bed with their mum and dad.
This means that 133 little ones are passing away every twelve months as a consequence.
Francine Bates, who works for The Lullaby Trust – an organisation which raises awareness about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – is urging mums and dads to think very seriously about the cons of co-sleeping.
‘Some parents choose to share a bed with their baby but we recommend they keep in mind the risk factors’, she told The Mirror.
‘The chance of sudden death goes up when bed-sharing if a parent smokes, has drunk alcohol or taken drugs or is very tired.
‘There’s also an increased risk if your baby was premature or at a low birth weight.’
The Lullaby Trust advises that those who still wish to share a bed with their child should ensure that there are no pillows, sheets or blankets, as these could obstruct breathing or cause a baby to overheat.
Experts believe that tiny tots should sleep in their own cot in their parents’ room until they are at least six months old. They should also be supervised during daytime naps.
Switching a duvet cover for a well-fitted sleeping bag can also lessen the risk of a baby suffocating.
As well having an association with co-sleeping, SIDS can be down to a combination of other factors including minor illness.
Official advice by the NHS also states that a baby’s head should be kept uncovered, always placing them on their back to sleep and using a mattress that’s firm, flat and waterproof are all strongly advised.