POSTED: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 7:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:05pm
TYLER-The state of Texas is starting a campaign warning parents about the dangers of allowing your baby to sleep with you.
State statistics show more than 160 Texas infants die each year while sleeping in bed with family members.
It seems harmless, but doctors say co-sleeping can becomes an all too deadly risk.
According to Child Protective Services, last year in Texas there were 167 deaths from accidental suffocation or strangulation, or with a clear explanation, while babies slept with their parents in a bed, sofa, futon or waterbed.
And officials say the number of deaths due to co-sleeping seems to increase each year.
Doctors say just an adult arm can smother babies.
Despite the risks, parents like first time mom Ashley Judd said its a personal decision. Before Laney, now 4 months, was born she swore she would never share her bed. But after taking little Laney home from the hospital, she wouldn't sleep in her basinett or the crib.
Finally she said she placed Laney in her bed with her and it worked. Since then, Laney and her mother have shared a bed.
"She sleeps great and I prefer her there," Judd said. "I'm just more comfortable."
Ms. Judd said she's never been afraid of what could happen because she doesn't move. She told us Laney sleeps on a contoured pad to prevent her from rolling around during the night.
"I don't swaddle her, she lays under the blanket with," Judd said.
Dr. Anne Christain with ETMC said though she can't tell her patients to not co-sleep with their infants, she said she doesn't recommend it.
Though some parents believe it strengthens the bond between mother and baby, Dr. Christain told us sharing a bed with an infant is a gamble.
Dr. Christain said she recommends using a co-sleeper bassinet which attaches the babies sleep space securely to the bed. This way your baby can sleep safely, while at the same time allowing the parents to be right there if something happens.