Bed- and sofa-sharing practices in a UK biethnic population

Pediatrics. 2012 Mar;129(3):e673-81. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1964. Epub 2012 Feb 20.


Objective: To describe the prevalence and associations of bed- and sofa-sharing in a biethnic UK birth cohort.

Methods: We surveyed 3082 participants in the Born in Bradford birth cohort study by using a telephone interview when infants were aged 2 to 4 months. We asked families about sleep surface sharing behaviors, and other sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)-related behaviors.

Results: There were 15.5% of families that had ever bed-shared, 7.2% of families regularly bed-shared, and 9.4% of families had ever sofa-shared with their infants; 1.4% reported both. Regular bed-sharers were more commonly Pakistani (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.96-4.66), had further or higher educational qualifications (aOR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.03-2.57), or breastfed for at least 8 weeks (aOR = 3.06, 95% CI 2.00-4.66). The association between breastfeeding and bed-sharing was greater among white British than Pakistani families. Sofa-sharing occurred in association with smoking (aOR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.14-2.80) and breastfeeding for more than 8 weeks (aOR = 1.76, 95% CI 1.19-2.58), and was less likely in Pakistani families (aOR = 0.21, 95% CI 0.14-0.31), or single-parent families (aOR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.29-0.87).

Conclusions: The data confirm that bed-sharing and sofa-sharing are distinct practices, which should not be combined in studies of unexpected infant deaths as a single exposure. The determinants of sleep-surface sharing differ between the UK Pakistani and UK majority communities, and from those of US minority communities. Caution is needed in generalizing SUDI/SIDS risk factors across populations with differing risk factor profiles, and care should be taken in adopting SUDI/SIDS reduction guidelines from other contexts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Beds / statistics & numerical data*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sleep
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology*
  • United Kingdom