Science and Health

Risk Factors For SIDS Vary With Baby's Age

New research suggests risk factors for SIDS varies with the age of the infant. The biggest risk is co-sleeping.

Risk Factors For SIDS Vary With Baby's Age
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A new study reveals some of the biggest risk factors when it comes to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. (Via Getty Images

And although it's not uncommon to want to cuddle your baby while he or she sleeps, the results show bed sharing is the No. 1 no-no. (Via Kelly Sue DeConnick / CC BY SA 2.0

"Researchers looked at over 8,000 SIDS-related deaths from 24 states. They found almost 70 percent of the infants were sleeping in an adult bed or near another person." (Via KKCO)

That percentage was higher for infants younger than 4 months old — just to clarify, it's not a risk to have the child in the same room, just the same bed. Now, what's interesting is the divide between ages. As a CBS medical contributor points out, older infants have different risks factors. 

"For babies older than 4 months, their predominant risk factor had more to do with the crib environment, if there were dangerous objects in the crib or blankets around them." 

These findings are important because although we don't know a lot about what happens in the moment the baby stops breathing in SIDS cases, knowing the risks factors is the easiest way to prevent the mysterious deaths. (Via YouTube / Phillips

The Mayo Clinic also has a few other tips to keep babies safe during bed or nap time. First, do not place them on their stomachs or sides, as that can make breathing difficult. It's good to have babies in the same room as their parents, just no co-sleeping. Also, make sure you keep an eye on premature babies, those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, those with brain abnormalities and infants with respiratory infections. 

A SIDS specialist told HealthDay more testing needs to be done "to identify why parents are ignoring safe sleeping advice. ... Is it because of poverty and they simply have no safe place for their baby to sleep, or is it because they are receiving incorrect advice from their parents, family members or medical professionals?"

Thousands of infants die from SIDS in the U.S. every year. Most of them are 4 months old or younger.