CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Sleeping with your newborn or infant can seem innocent. However, it can be extremely dangerous. Bed-sharing is the practice of sharing the bed with your child.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there have been 71 bed-sharing related deaths across the state in 2023. A total of 185 deaths were reported last year in 2022.
Stephanie Perez is a first time mother and said luckily she was advised about bed-sharing prior to having her daughter.
"As being a first time mom, they do tell us a lot the you're not supposed to sleep with the baby because there's a lot of things that can happen if the baby does sleep with you," Perez said. "And if the baby sleeps in a crib, have it clean, there shouldn't be any extra stuffing."
Dr. Sabeen Rani, a local pediatrician in Corpus Christi, said it's an issue that claimed more than three thousand lives last year across the nation.
Adult beds can interfere with a baby's ability to breath. Babies can get smothered by bedding or trapped between the parents and the mattress. Stuffed animals and pillows can also cover the baby's face and cause suffocation.
"Another one that we see frequently is the baby falls between the mattress and the headboard," Rani said. "Then, the baby gets stuck between the mattress and the wall. Then, they don't have the motor skills to roll over or get themselves out and often times, they choke."
Medical experts said bed-sharing is particularly dangerous if the bay is under three months old and if there are multiple people in the bed—even other babies. Secondhand smoke and alcohol use are also other dangerous factors for babies.
Room-sharing is still another option for parents wanting to be near their child at night.
Pediatricians said babies should be sleeping on a flat, firm surface. Parents can use a crib or a bassinet. Most importantly, the baby should always be laying on their back. A clever way to remember the position is putting a baby "back to sleep," which is parallel to lying them on their back.
Outside of the severe risks, medical experts said bed sharing from birth can be hard to break once it's time for the child to get their own room.
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