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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2005 Nov 3;125(21):2919-21.

[Bed sharing and sudden infant death].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Rettsmedisinsk institutt, Rikshospitalet, 0027 Oslo.



The aim of the study was to investigate bed sharing as a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


Firstly, SIDS cases examined at our institute in two six-year periods before and after the back-to-sleep campaign (1984-89 and 1998-2003) were investigated. Secondly, a case-control study was performed, an investigation of variables such as bed sharing, parental smoking and breast-feeding in the SIDS group from the latter period versus 244 live control infants.


The age distribution of the SIDS victims in the two periods with high and low SIDS rates differed significantly (p = 0.004). In the latter period, fewer SIDS cases were seen in the classical distributional peak between the third and the fourth month of life, and a larger proportion of SIDS cases were seen within the first month of life. Furthermore, a smaller proportion of SIDS victims were found dead in the prone position (decrease from 89% to 49%, p < 0.001); and bed sharing at time of death occurred more frequently (increase from 7% to 35%, p < 0.001). In the case-control study, bed sharing was a significant risk factor for SIDS in infants aged 0-2 months (multivariate OR 5.3; 95 % CI 1.3-22, p = 0.02). Bed sharing with a smoking mother was associated with a 16-fold increased risk of SIDS (OR 16; 95% CI 2.1 - 118, p = 0.007). No relationship between bed sharing and SIDS was evident for age >2 months. Only 12% of the bed sharing SIDS victims aged <2 months where found in the prone position.


Bed sharing is associated with an increased risk of SIDS for infants <2 months of age. Particularly hazardous is bed sharing with a smoking parent.

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