Co-sleeping has another bad side effect.

If you’re doing this at night, you might want to reconsider.

We’ve heard the benefits and cons of co-sleeping.

But this week, a new study found a link between children that sleep in the same bed as their parents and higher rates of childhood asthma.

In an attempt to understand the impact of co-sleeping on later childhood health, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands surveyed over 6000 mothers about their sleeping patterns, locations and nap times.

What the study found was that children, particularly toddlers, were more likely to have a diagnosis of childhood asthma if they slept in the same bed as their parents during their younger years. According to the research published on Medical News Todaychildren who were sharing a bed with their parents were also more likely to suffer from wheezing and other breathing difficulties which in many cases went on to a formal diagnosis of asthma.

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However, as noted by Dr. Maartje Luijk, co-author of the paper, the situation may not be as cut and dry as it sounds.


She says in the Medical News Today article that, "There could be a number of factors at play here. For example, bed-sharing families might be more likely to report wheezing because they are more attentive or aware of their children's breathing. Alternatively, families might perceive wheezing as problematic and as something that could lead to sleep problems, which might in turn elicit bed-sharing to better monitor these problems. More research is needed to identify the factors that may impact on the development of asthma through bed-sharing."

So really, parents of children who display symptoms of breathing difficulties and wheezing may elect to sleep in the same bed as their child out of concern, rather than habit.

Associate Editor of the European Respiratory Journal Dr. Claudia Kuehni told the Medical News Today that the study was unique from others as, "It does not content itself with showing that putative risk factors and health outcome are associated (which means only that they occur more often together than would be expected by chance). Rather, the authors investigate temporal relationships to find out if the risk factor, here bed-sharing, might affect the health outcome, in our example asthma."

I know as a mother of two young boys I often find myself sneaking into their beds when they're ill. Neither of my children have asthma but I can fully appreciate the concern that parents of asthmatic children have, especially during the night. I know that it gives me peace of mind knowing I'm right there, listening to their breathing when they're sick so I can absolutely understand a heightened reported rate of co-sleeping parents of asthmatic children.

Do you co-sleep with your children? Are you concerned about the possible risks?

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