qCan you provide more feedback on the 6-12 month change for room sharing with the child [as advised in the 2016 update to the AAP’s Safe Sleep Policy]? That seems like an incredible step higher than what was previously advised (though not official recommended). Keeping your child in the room with you for an entire year is a seriously drastic life-change.
– Daniel, via Facebook

The interesting part of this is that the recommendation it isn’t new, however, because the recommendation was highlighted using bold font in the updated policy, many in the media have interpreted it as a new portion of the policy.  The 2011 Safe Sleep Policy also recommended room sharing for 6-12 months to reduce the risk of SIDS.

This recommendation is based on 3 case-control studies from the 1990s and early 2000s, the citations for these studies are below my response, which shows that room sharing for at least six months, but ideally longer, can reduce the risk of of SIDS by as much as 50%, although most studies put the risk reduction in the range of 24-36%. Room sharing is most effective at reducing the risk of SIDS from birth to six months.  There is some, but not ample, evidence that sharing a room beyond six months continues to reduce the risk of SIDS. Given the evidence at hand, the committee stuck with that recommendation and I can see why.

My personal opinion is that the sleep environment (the infant sleeps alone, on it’s back, in a crib or bassinet, without bedding) far outweighs the location of the child.  As with most recommendations, parents need to do what works best for their sanity. If parents feel more comfortable with the infant in their room, beyond six months, do it. If the baby is able to roll over and is keeping you up all night then, move her to her own room.


Carpenter RG, Irgens LM, Blair PS, et al. Sudden unexplained infant death in 20 regions in Europe: case control study. Lancet. 2004;363(9404):185191pmid:14738790

Blair PS, Fleming PJ, Smith IJ, et al; CESDI SUDI Research Group. Babies sleeping with parents: case-control study of factors influencing the risk of the sudden infant death syndrome. BMJ. 1999;319(7223):14571461pmid:10582925

Mitchell EA, Thompson JMD. Co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS, but sleeping in the parents’ bedroom lowers it. In: Rognum TO, ed. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: New Trends in the Nineties. Oslo, Norway: Scandinavian University Press; 1995:266269

Tappin D, Ecob R, Brooke H. Bedsharing, roomsharing, and sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland: a case-control study. J Pediatr. 2005;147(1):3237pmid:16027691

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Categories: Accidents, Injuries, + Abuse, Newborns + Infants, Policy, Politics, + Pop Health