API Calls on Government to Delay Campaign Parent Group Points to Benefits of Co-Sleeping When Safety Guidelines Followed
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 13, 2002-A recent government report that warns parents not to sleep with their babies is misleading, according to Attachment Parenting International (API). API is a nonprofit member organization with nearly 100 parent support groups in the United States and four foreign countries.
API is calling on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to delay their public campaign about the "hidden hazards of placing babies in adult beds" until more medical research has been done on the issue.
"Millions of parents around the world share their beds safely with their babies every night," said Lysa Parker, executive director of API. "Our experience is that parents who follow safety guidelines for co-sleeping reap the benefits of better sleep cycles for mother and child, increased breastfeeding, and emotional bonding with their infants. Mothers have even saved their babies' lives by being close by when a sleeping baby stops breathing."
Added Parker, "API supports efforts to promote a safe sleeping environment for infants. However, rather than banning the family bed, let's make this a campaign that informs parents about how to share a bed safely with their babies."
API faults the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for relying on inconsistent data from death certificates, coroners' reports, newspaper clippings and other anecdotal sources instead of using comprehensive medical studies. API says the report looked at incidents of infants who died while sleeping in adult beds, but didn't examine deaths of infants in cribs. API says the CPSC failed to rule out cases when parents may have used alcohol or drugs while sharing a bed with a baby.
API also cites a conflict-of-interest in the campaign because it's co-sponsored by JPMA, a trade association representing crib manufacturers, which stands to profit from increased crib sales.
"Our experience is that parents are looking for good information from medical authorities," said API's Parker. "The opinion of a trade industry group that sells cribs is not a valid substitute for solid medical research."
API's safety guidelines say that parents should not use alcohol, drugs or sleeping medication when they're sharing a bed with their baby. Babies should be placed on their back and next to the mother, who is more likely to be sensitive to an infant's subtle movements. Parents should use a firm mattress without fluffy bedding.
Established in 1994, Attachment Parenting International is a nonprofit member organization that promotes Attachment Parenting through public education; parent support groups; and networking among researchers, educators and parents. API has nearly 100 parent groups in the United States and four foreign countries. API's board of directors includes pediatricians, psychiatrists and public health professionals.
Attachment Parenting promotes nurturing parenting methods that create strong emotional bonds between infant and parent(s). For more information, visit www.attachmentparenting.org.
See also Infant Sleep & Death Fact SheetAttachment Parenting Research