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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Bed-sharing fear over cot deaths
A baby lying on its back
Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, parents are advised
Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at greater risk of cot death, according to research.

The Glasgow University study found babies sharing a bed were at risk even if the child was breast-fed and the parent was a non-smoker.

Dr John McClure, chairman of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, said parents should only have their babies in bed for a feed or a cuddle.

The research was carried out at the university between 1996 and 2000.

The charity said cot death could not be prevented but the risk could be reduced if parents followed simple advice.

Both partners should reduce smoking during pregnancy
Babies should be placed on their back to sleep
Parents should also ensure their baby does not get too hot
Keep baby's head uncovered
Seek medical advice promptly if your baby is unwell
In the first six months, a baby should sleep in a cot in the parents' room
Do not share a bed with your baby if you smoke, have been drinking or taking drugs or are very tired
Never sleep with a baby on a chair or an armchair

Babies should not sleep in their parents' bed, particularly in the first three months and adults have been warned against falling asleep with a baby on a couch or a chair.

Dr McClure said: "Until recently it was thought that bed-sharing was a risk only if parents were smokers.

"Our advice to parents is that while it's fine to have your baby in bed to feed or cuddle, you should put the baby in his or her own cot or crib in your room before you go to sleep."

Hazel Brooke, executive director of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, said: "What we don't want is for parents to avoid bed-sharing but to start sleeping on a couch or a chair with the baby instead - that is extremely unsafe.

"The message is quite clear. The safest place for a baby to sleep is in his or her own cot in the same room as the parents for the first six months."

'Breathing gene' cot death link
19 Aug 04 |  Health
Q&A: Cot Death
24 Oct 01 |  Health

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