Sleep Death Risks Vary by Baby's Age
Sleep-related deaths of younger babies occur most often when they are sharing a bed, a new study finds. But older babies are more likely than younger ones to die when there are pillows, toys or other objects in bed with them. Doctors advise parents to place babies on their backs to sleep. This can help to prevent SIDS and other sleep-related deaths. This new study looked at how a baby's environment, as well as sleeping position, affects the risk of death. The study focused on 8,200 sleep-related deaths. Nearly 70% of the babies were sharing a bed at the time of death. About one-third were sleeping with an object, such as a pillow or toy. Researchers looked separately at deaths of babies younger and older than 4 months of age. Younger babies were twice as likely to be sharing a bed at the time of death. They were also more likely to be sleeping in an adult bed or on a person.