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
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
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.