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Study: Mothers’ Intentions to Roomshare but Not Bedshare With Infants Vary According to Attitudes, Perceived Social Norms and Doctor’s Advice

2/7/2020

​To reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing a room – but not the same sleep surface or bed – with an infant for the first six months to a year of age. According to a March 2020 Pediatrics study, “Factors Associated with Choice of Infant Sleep Locations,” fewer than half of mothers are exclusively practicing and intending to follow the AAP recommendations on roomsharing without bedsharing. The study, published online Feb. 7, found that actual practice and future intention for sleep location are not always consistent. Researchers enrolled 3,983 mothers from 32 hospitals between January 2011 and March 2014 and surveyed them about the locations where they intended for their infant to sleep in the near future, and where the infants actually slept the prior two weeks. While 59% of respondents reported that they intended to roomshare without bedsharing, only 45.4% of mothers had both practiced and then intended to exclusively roomshare without bedsharing. Compared with white mothers, black and Hispanic mothers were less likely to intend to have infants sleep in another room. Women who were black or a race other than white, as well as women with lower education levels, were more likely to intend to bedshare. The study showed that women who received advice from a doctor to roomshare without bedsharing were less likely to intend to bedshare. Maternal attitudes and perceived social norms favoring bedsharing had the strongest association with infant sleep locations, particularly in regard to bedsharing. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.