Recently, this blog summarized AAP SIDS recommendations. These recommendations have been reviewed in a NY Times commentary: Should Your Baby Really Sleep in the Same Room as You?
This opinion piece provides a good background on the issue os whether having a baby sleep in the same room is beneficial and explains some of the flaws in the studies behind the recommendations. Here’s an excerpt:
So when the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued new infant sleep guidelines — highlighting a recommendation that babies sleep in their parents’ rooms for at least six months but ideally a full year — some parents despaired…
Yet the recommendation drew skepticism from some doctors, who argued that a close look at the evidence showed that the benefits of room-sharing didn’t always justify its costs to parents, who would have to sacrifice privacy, sex and, above all, sleep…
Depriving parents of good sleep can also endanger babies. Sleep-deprived people can have decreased empathy. Sleep deprivation is associated with anincrease in car accidents (which are a top killer of older children). It stresses marriages and families and is significantly associated with an increased riskof postpartum depression.
And with regard to the studies:
The first thing to note is that they all collected data in the 1990s, when SIDS was much more common than it is today. The academy said room-sharing “decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent,” but that was before the significant improvement in SIDS rates. It’s not clear that sharing a bedroom would make as much of a difference today as it did then.
The second is these were all studies in Europe, where room-sharing is much more common. Only about 20 percent to 41 percent of infants in the control group slept in their own rooms. That makes it hard to pinpoint the reason they survived, and to generalize the findings to the United States.
My take: While the risk of SIDS may improve when infants sleep in the same room, this article makes a compelling argument that it may cause more harm than benefit.