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Sharing Bed With Toddler Won't Harm Development: Study
Date:7/18/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Allowing your toddler to share your bed does not lead to behavioral or learning problems down the road, new research suggests.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics currently advises against bed-sharing during the first year of life, due to increased risk of SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome]," noted study co-author Lauren Hale, an associate professor of preventive medicine in the Graduate Program of Public Health at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. "However, very little research has investigated the potential developmental consequences of bed-sharing during toddlerhood," she added.

"We found that, after adjusting for mother and child characteristics, there were no observed cognitive or behavioral differences between children who bed-share and those who don't," Hale said.

Hale and her colleagues present their findings in the August issue of Pediatrics.

The team's current effort focused on 944 low-income families who had at least one child under the age of 1 at the start of the study.

Participants included roughly equal amounts of boys and girls. Among the children's mothers, about 30 percent were black, 25 percent were Hispanic and almost 40 percent were white.

The authors visited each family as the children turned 1, 2 and 3, at which point the mothers provided information on their child's health, parenting routines and sleeping arrangements. At age 5, all of the children underwent cognitive and behavioral testing, with a focus on math and literacy skill evaluations along with an assessment of the hyperactivity levels and social skills.

The researchers found that black and Hispanic families were more likely to bed-share with their toddlers than were white families.

Regardless, after controlling for a host of factors (including child gender, birth weight, ethnicity, economic status and maternal
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