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The misinterpretation of the new SIDS/bedsharing study

(6 Posts)
GreenMonkies Fri 16-Oct-09 11:00:05

I'm sorry, but this is really annoying me.

"Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology in Bristol, one of the study authors, was appalled by the misinterpretation, as he sees it, of the paper in the media this week. "I really felt quite uncomfortable about it," he told the Guardian yesterday.

"My view is that the positive message of this study is that it says don't drink or take drugs and don't smoke, particularly for breastfeeding mothers. We did not find any increased risk from bedsharing. It is a very different message from the one the media picked up."

You can say that half the deaths occurred while babies slept with their parents. You could also say that half the deaths occurred while babies were alone in their cots, he says, but: "I don't see anybody saying, 'Don't put your baby in a cot.'"

Fleming has a particular reason for worry. The study showed that sleeping with the baby on a sofa really is a risk. Yet seven of the parents whose baby died say they had gone to the sofa to feed, aware that bedsharing is said to be dangerous, and had fallen asleep.

"Any advice to discourage bedsharing may carry with it the danger of tired parents feeding their baby on a sofa, which carries a much greater risk than co-sleeping in the parents' bed," says the paper. "Anecdotally, two of the families of Sids infants who had co-slept on a sofa informed us that they had been advised against bringing the baby into bed but had not realised the risks from falling asleep on the sofa."

But despite Fleming's concern, the FSID was sticking to the line agreed with the Department of Health yesterday: "The safest place for an infant to sleep is in a cot beside the parents' bed." It pointed out that the same sentence appears in Fleming's paper, but did not mention what follows next: "Based on evidence from research into Sids it is questionable whether advice to avoid bedsharing is generalisable and whether such a simplistic approach would do no harm. Parents of young infants need to feed them during the night, sometimes several times, and if we demonise the parents' bed we may be in danger of the sofa being chosen. A better approach may be to warn parents of the specific circumstances that put infants at risk."

We are being scaremongered because Joyce Epstein, director of FSID, says this is too complicated.

"If you can get people's attention for more than three seconds you would like to give the whole story every time, but at what point do you lose everybody?" she says. From their perspective, the simple direct message – put your baby to sleep in a cot near the bed, not in the bed, is the key."

It all just makes me so angry!!!

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 16-Oct-09 11:48:57

Can I join you in the cross-ness? I watched the TV misreporting slacked jawed in disbelief. It is always quite depressing when you see how science is misreported but this was beyond appalling and yet again, there are confusing messages sent out to parents who now distrust themselves to trust their instincts on anything. It really was quite shocking.

SCARYspicemonster Fri 16-Oct-09 11:50:38

There are lots of threads on this already but I suggest that Prof Fleming has a word with FSID who paid for the survey and then woefully misrepresented the results.

GreenMonkies Fri 16-Oct-09 12:10:18

It all just makes me want to bang my head against something, it really does!!

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Fri 16-Oct-09 12:12:39

Oh I know angry

What is especially galling is the way newspaper headlines from a year ago, based on the same research, were along the lines of 'Cosleeping not linked to cot death'.

GreenMonkies Fri 16-Oct-09 14:46:51

Bloody Joyce Epstein and her MAM sponsored advice, cherry picking statements and misquoting research. According to the study 7 sets of parents chose not to bed-share and fell asleep feeding their babies on the sofa on the night they died. And FSIDS are calling these co-sleeping deaths..........





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