Importance: A strong association between infant bed sharing and sudden infant death syndrome or unintentional sleep-related death in infants has been established. Occurrences of unintentional sleep-related deaths among infants appear to be increasing.
Objectives: To determine the trends and factors associated with infant bed sharing from 1993 through 2010, including the association of physician advice on bed sharing.
Design: National Infant Sleep Position study conducted with annual telephone surveys.
Setting: The 48 contiguous states.
Participants: Nighttime caregivers of infants born within 7 months of each survey administration. Approximately 1000 interviews were completed annually.
Main outcomes and measures: Infant bed sharing as a usual practice.
Results: Of 18 986 participants, 11.2% reported an infant sharing a bed as a usual practice. Bed sharing increased from 1993 (6.5%) to 2010 (13.5%). Although bed sharing increased significantly among white respondents from 1993 to 2000 (P < .001), the increase from 2001 to 2010 was not significant (P = .48). Black and Hispanic respondents reported an increase in bed sharing throughout the study period, with no difference between the earlier and later periods (P = .63 and P = .77, respectively). After accounting for the study year, factors associated with increase in infant bed sharing as a usual practice included maternal educational level of less than high school compared with college or greater (adjusted odds ratio, 1.42 [95% CI, 1.12-1.79]); black (3.47 [2.97-4.05]), Hispanic (1.33 [1.10-1.61]), and other (2.46 [2.03-2.97]) maternal race or ethnicity compared with white race; household income of less than $20,000 (1.69 [1.44-1.99]) and $20,000 to $50,000 (1.29 [1.14-1.45]) compared with greater than $50,000; living in the West (1.61 [1.38-1.88]) or the South (1.47 [1.30-1.66]) compared with the Midwest; infants younger than 8 weeks (1.45 [1.21-1.73]) or ages 8 to 15 weeks (1.31 [1.17-1.45]) compared with 16 weeks or older; and being born prematurely compared with full-term (1.41 [1.22-1.62]). Almost 46% of the participants reported talking to a physician about bed sharing. Compared with those who did not receive advice from a physician, those who reported their physicians had a negative attitude were less likely to have the infant share a bed (adjusted odds ratio, 0.66 [95% CI, 0.53-0.82]), whereas a neutral attitude was associated with increased bed sharing (1.38 [1.05-1.80]).
Conclusions and relevance: Our finding of a continual increase in bed sharing throughout the study period among black and Hispanic infants suggests that the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation about bed sharing is not universally followed. The factors associated with infant bed sharing may be useful in evaluating the impact of a broad intervention to change behavior.