Mothers can safely share a bed with toddlers over one. From Flickr Commons
Researchers say that for moms, sharing a bed with their toddler will not harm the child’s intellectual or social development. Of course, bed sharing should not happen until after the baby has turned one and passed the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
A study was conducted with 944 poor U.S. mothers who reported whether they shared their bed with their toddlers at ages one, two and three. Nearly 50% reported that they had shared their bed at some point (Hispanic and black women more so than whites). At first, it appeared that the behavior and intellectual development of the kids who slept with their moms was worse than the rest when tested at age five, but researchers found that other characteristics of the mothers and children accounted for this. With the other characteristics factored in, there was no significant difference.
Lauren Hale of Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, who led the study, said “Parents can do what works best for their family and not feel guilty if they choose to bed-share, because there probably aren’t lasting impacts.”
According to experts, bed-sharing is not very common in the U.S.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against bed-sharing until babies are at least one year old, mainly because of concern about SIDS, which killed nearly 2,300 children in 2008, according to the AAP.
Hale said earlier studies had come to the same conclusion as the new work, but their inclusion of fewer minority women could have skewed the data. She told Reuters Health “Thankfully the results were consistent.”
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