SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

What is SIDS?

Modifiable Risk Factors

Mother and baby


Research demonstrates that bedsharing under certain conditions, such as extreme maternal fatigue or smoking and alcohol use, is associated with an increased risk of SIDS and other accidental infant deaths. Studies have also shown that infants who share a bed with smokers are at higher risk for SIDS.

According to the 2005 AAP policy statement on SIDS, The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnostic Coding Shifts, Controversies Regarding the Sleeping Environment, and New Variables to Consider in Reducing Risk, the AAP does not recommend bedsharing during sleep. Infants may be brought into bed for nursing or comforting, but should be returned to their own crib or bassinet when the parent is ready to return to sleep. However, there is growing evidence that roomsharing is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. The AAP recommends a separate but proximate sleeping environment.

Since 1987, NICHD has funded a National Survey of Families and Households which gathers information from families with infants about their infant sleep practices. Since 1993, the number of infants who bedshare has more than doubled from 5.5 percent to 12.8 percent. Currently, 44 percent of infants spend some time sleeping in an adult bed.45

Often, parents and caregivers are not aware of the increased risk of SIDS and accidental infant deaths that bedsharing poses. Some new mothers find it easier to breastfeed and bond with their infant if the infant is in their bed. Other parents and caregivers may bedshare because they cannot afford or do not have enough room for a crib. Still others may be misinformed, believing that bedsharing may reduce the risk for SIDS when the opposite is true.