Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – once known as cot death – remains a mystery, although it’s more likely to happen when the baby is sleeping with the parents, a new analysis has discovered.

It’s the one factor that stands out in an analysis of 8,207 SIDS deaths, which involved children aged up to one year. In 69 per cent of the deaths, the children were sleeping in the same bed as the parents. The ratio rises to nearly 74 per cent in children aged between zero and three months. Older infants who were sleeping near the parental bed were often found prone with blankets or stuffed toys nearby.

These tragic cases suggest that risk factors change during the first year of life, and that babies in the first three months of life are at special risk when they sleep with parents.

Source: Pediatrics, 2014; doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0401
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at