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Arch Dis Child. 2004 Dec;89(12):1111-6.

Bed-sharing and the infant's thermal environment in the home setting.

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Department of Women's & Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.



To study bed-sharing and cot-sleeping infants in the natural setting of their own home in order to identify differences in the thermal characteristics of the two sleep situations and their potential hazards.


Forty routine bed-sharing infants and 40 routine cot-sleeping infants aged 5-27 weeks were individually matched between groups for age and season. Overnight video and physiological data of bed-share infants and cot-sleeping infants were recorded in the infants' own homes including rectal, shin, and ambient temperature.


The mean rectal temperature two hours after sleep onset for bed-share infants was 36.79 degrees C and for cot-sleeping infants, 36.75 degrees C (difference 0.05 degrees C, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.14). The rate of change thereafter was higher in the bed-share group than in the cot group (0.04 degrees C v 0.03 degrees C/h, difference 0.01, 0.00 to 0.02). Bed-share infants had a higher shin temperature at two hours (35.43 v 34.60 degrees C, difference 0.83, 0.18 to 1.49) and a higher rate of change (0.04 v -0.10 degrees C/h, difference 0.13, 0.08 to 0.19). Bed-sharing infants had more bedding. Face covering events were more common and bed-share infants woke and fed more frequently than cot infants (mean wake times/night: 4.6 v 2.5).


Bed-share infants experience warmer thermal conditions than those of cot-sleeping infants, but are able to maintain adequate thermoregulation to maintain a normal core temperature.

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