Infants and Safe Sleeping

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Bed Sharing With Infants: Dangerous or Not?

(Flickr: Megan Myers)

(Flickr: Megan Myers)

A children’s advocacy group in Santa Clara County has launched a campaign to discourage parents from sleeping in bed with their infants. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, advocates say bed sharing is not just dangerous, but can be lethal. The Mercury News cites statistics showing 20 babies in Santa Clara County have died since 2005 due to “unsafe sleeping practices.” But critics argue that bed sharing can be safe, under the right circumstances.

Yesterday’s press conference from First Five Santa Clara County included the emotional story of Karma Sunshine King, the mother of an infant who died while sleeping in bed with her.

The 33-year-old Santa Clara mother said she crawled into her bed last November with her 3-month-old son, Cash, and when she woke up, “my son did not wake up with me.”

“That was the worst day of my life,” King said. “It changed me forever.”

King said she grew up in a Filipino family where bed sharing is the norm.

That’s until Cash died, and Dr. Michelle Jorden, a county medical examiner, came to her home and conducted a baby death re-enactment with her.

Jorden strongly argues against bed sharing because children can have blankets and pillows accidentally placed on their faces.

But critics say each case must be looked at in detail.
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