Everyone is guilty of putting their baby in the bed with them at some point, mostly due to pure exhaustion, but the government’s latest infant bed-sharing numbers show a disturbing trend. According to an article on Today, a recent study in published in JAMA Pediatrics notes the percentage of babies in the U.S. who are sleeping with parents or another child has more than doubled since the early 1990's. These numbers fly in the face of public health messages that link this practice with sudden infant death syndrome (commonly called SIDS).

Nearly 14 of adults surveyed in 2010 admitted that their infants share a bed instead of sleeping alone in a crib. This was up about 7 percent from 1993, and the increase was mainly in the black and Hispanic population.

"That's a concern because we know that blacks are at increased risk for SIDS," said study co-author Marian Willinger of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "We want to eliminate as many risks as we can for everybody, particularly in that population where we're seeing increasing disparities."

SIDS covers all the deaths of infants in the first year of life that remain unexplained even after thorough investigation into the autopsies, death scene, and baby’s medical history.

What’s also disconcerting is that more than half of the participants in telephone surveys taken since 2006 said doctors never even mentioned the risks of bed-sharing.

"That in and of itself is kind of shocking ... because the recommendations have long been out," said SIDS expert and family medicine professor at University of Virginia, Dr. Fern R. Hauck.

While the number of infants who sleep on their tummies – another risk factor for SIDS – has decreased, the article notes that the SIDS numbers have had little effect on infant bed-sharing.

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Source: Today