Parental bed risk factor: Most infants die in their sleep

Unsafe sleeping practices often lead to early infant death

Infants are often placed in the parents' bed to sleep. This is a risk that should not be underestimated for babies. Shallow sleep practices are one of the most common causes of early infant death. The American health authority CDC reported about this in 2017, and a research team has now dealt with the topic of unsafe sleeping practices in infants in a recent study.

Most infant deaths occur in the parent's bed

Many deaths occur from suffocation when babies sleep on their tummy in adult beds. It often happens because parents take their little baby to cuddle in their own bed. Sleep conditions that are not suitable for children are the greatest risk factor for deaths in infants.

Most common cause of death

Asphyxiation is responsible for 14 percent of all sudden, unexpected infant deaths, making it a leading cause of death in babies under the age of one. 49 percent of these tragedies occur in a parental bed, 82 percent of them in a sleeping position on the stomach. Soft bedding is also often involved. This emerges from a study recently published in Pediatrics.

The researchers found a particularly high risk if the infants slept in a bed with their parents, on their stomach or on their side.

Parental bed is the most common place of death

The research team found that 69 percent of suffocation deaths were caused by very soft bedding that blocked babies' airways. In most cases, the babies were placed on their tummy or side to sleep and one or more blankets were used.

Storage of infants

Pinching babies was also responsible for 12 percent of suffocation deaths. The children were pinched between the mattress and the wall in 48 percent of the cases. The median age of death in these cases was six months.

The number of deaths is increasing

The incidence of suffocation and strangulation in bed has increased from six deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 23 deaths in 2015, the CDC also warns. (fm)

Author and source information

Video: SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (January 2022).