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Dangerous Bed Sharing with Infants on the Rise

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many parents in the U.S. seem not to have gotten the message that sleeping in the same bed with an infant is a recipe for tragedy.

According to a survey by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the percentage of infants sharing a bed with a caregiver has jumped from 6.5 percent 20 years ago to 13.5 percent in 2010.

Breaking it down by ethnic groups, the percentage of white infants sharing a bed with caregivers is 9 percent, 21 percent among Hispanic infants and 39 percent among African-American children.

Health officials warn that this practice increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or death from other causes, including when the child is crushed under the weight of a larger person, even if it happens to be another youngster.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that it’s okay for infants to sleep in the same room but not the same bed as their parents.  Meanwhile, the group recommends that pediatricians go out of their way to tell caregivers not to engage in the practice.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio