Exhausted dads, rejoice: infants sleep longer and more fitfully when they’re sleeping in their own rooms, according to a new study. The study also suggests that parents who keep their kids nearby at bedtime are more likely to engage in unsafe sleeping practices, which can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. These results contrast sharply with recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advocated keeping your kid with you in your bedroom (albeit in his or her own crib) for at least six months and, ideally, one year.
“Our findings show poorer sleep-related outcomes and more unsafe sleeping practices among [parents and children] who room-share beyond early infancy,” coauthor on the study Ian M. Paul of Penn State College of Medicine told MedPage Today. “The AAP should reconsider and revise the recommendation, pending evidence to support room-sharing through the age of one year.”
Roughly 3,500 infants in the United States die every year due to unsafe sleep practices. The AAP has led the charge when it comes to decreasing that number, and in 2016 the organization released updated sleep guidelines, drawing on decades of SIDS research. The advisory board concluded that infants should sleep in the same room—but by no means in the same bed—as their parents for at least the first six months and, ideally, the entire first year of life.