DEAR ABBY: While, as you replied to "Sleepy in California" (Sept. 17), some parents do "co-sleep" with their children for the first few months, what you were referring to is actually "bed sharing." Bed sharing was shown in studies several years ago to be the greatest risk factor for sleep-related deaths in young infants less than 4 months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes have both recommended (for years!) against bed sharing in these young infants. Instead they recommend that young infants sleep in cribs near their parents. They should of course be on their backs and should not be sleeping with blankets or toys.
These deaths, mostly from suffocation or overheating, are sad and mostly preventable. The acceptance of bed sharing due to cultural influences is difficult to overcome. Please help by taking the time to educate your readers on the dangers of bed sharing with infants. -- C. SMITH, M.D., FAAP
DEAR DR. SMITH: I appreciate your writing to me. Your point is an important one, and that I omitted it was an oversight. I hope parents of infants will take your wise counsel to heart.