While not particularly popular here in the U.S., bed sharing arrangements are a little more common in many other countries, especially when sleeping quarters may be scarce. A new study just published suggests that such bed sharing between parents and their toddlers and young children probably don’t result in any kind of long-term psychological or social problems.
The study followed a sample of 944 low-income families who were enrolled in the Early Head Start program, and followed the toddlers and parents over the course of five years.
Once other factors were accounted for — such as the family’s socioeconomic status, the mom’s educational level, ethnicity and parenting style — the negative outcomes associated with bed sharing went away. This suggests that bed sharing itself is not to blame for those negative outcomes.
LiveScience has the report:
“After statistical adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics, there were no behavioral or cognitive differences at age 5 between children who bed-shared with a parent during their toddler years and those who did not,” study researcher Lauren Hale, of Stony Brook University, told LiveScience in an email.
“Since we did not find a difference, this study suggests that bed-sharing patterns are not contributing to divergent developmental trajectories.”
But what do the experts say?
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends against bed-sharing during infancy because studies have shown that it increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) under certain conditions.
“Our finding is not in conflict with this recommendation, because our study looked at bed-sharing at ages 1, 2 and 3 (past the period of infancy),” Hale said.
A toddler may find benefits in their sense of safety and security sleeping regularly next to their mom and dad, according to the article.
Will the study’s findings result in a new wave of bed sharing parents in the U.S.? Unlikely, but for those who do choose to sleep with their toddler, it seems okay to do.
Just get the kid out of your bed after toddler-hood, because kids do need to find their own sense of security and safety by being by themselves as well.
Read the full article: It’s OK to Share a Bed with Your Toddler, Study Finds
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jul 2011
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2011). Bed Sharing Seems Okay for Toddlers. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/07/18/bed-sharing-seems-okay-for-toddlers/