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A Review of The Risks and Benefits of Cosleeping

25 July 2011


“Cosleeping” is defined as a child sleeping in the same bed as an adult within arm’s reach. The literature on cosleeping identifies a number of risks and benefits to infants, but many questions remain unanswered. Proponents of cosleeping assert that the research supports the benefits of cosleeping. Proponents report reduced rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), increased rates of breastfeeding, the instinctive nature of cosleeping. Opponents of cosleeping generally report opposite findings and theories: cosleeping increases the rates of SIDS and leaves children at risk of suffocation, entrapment, overlaying, and rebreathing carbon dioxide. A large portion of the literature reported relates to cosleeping differences across cultures. Additionally, the thesis reports the limited long-term or retrospective studies that have been conducted have not found lasting positive or negative effects of cosleeping. Examining this question further can provide us with additional insight into this controversial issue. This thesis carefully and fully examines the research that has been completed regarding cosleeping and offers suggestions for future research.


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