A recent study published by the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York destroys the myth that children who share a bed with their mothers will grow up to be socially ill-adjusted or otherwise developmentally hindered.
The study, which will be published in the August issue of Pediatrics, found no evidence that any behavioral, social or intellectual problems result from bed-sharing. Nearly 50% of the low-income American mothers who took part in the study said that they shared a bed with their children before they were four years old. Researchers analyzed data on the development of these children at age five.
After adjusting for other factors such as gender, birth weight and ethnicity, it was found that the bed-sharing behavior did not hurt the toddlers’ social or intellectual abilities.
Study co-author Lauren Hale indicated that these results allow parents to make sleeping arrangements based on their family situation without worry about possible adverse effects.
Due to concern over the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or suffocation, bed-sharing is not recommended for infants younger than one year old.
Similarly, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents to be mindful of the risk of suffocation or injury inherent in sharing a bed a small child.