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Study questions safety of co-sleeping

Parents who sleep next to their babies may be putting them at risk, according to a new study.
Parents who sleep next to their babies face putting them at risk, according to a new study.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) has sent the warning to parents following pathology reports that many of the babies who have died were in fact sharing beds with their mums and dads.

However, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said such a warning is unhelpful to parents and has told them to speak to their midwife to get advice.

FSID revealed that 85 per cent of the 173 babies that unexpectedly died in the London area had shared beds with a parent rather than slept alone in a crib or cot.

Paediatric pathologist Dr Marta Cohen, who works at Sheffield Children's Hospital, said around 62 per cent of the cot deaths she had investigated between 2004 and 2007 involved infants who had shared a bed or sofa with a parent.

Dr Chris Wright, a consultant perinatal pathologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, said nearly half of the cases he had investigated between 2008 and 2009 were similar.

Director Joyce Epstein said: "Its fine to breastfeed in bed, but if you smoke at all - even if not in the bedroom - or you've drunk alcohol, you really must protect your baby and put them in their cot to sleep.

"May 2009 is FSID's Save a Baby Month and because of our experience we recognise the urgent need to raise awareness of the dangers associated with bed or sofa sharing with your baby."

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