CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - Sharing your bed with an infant also known as co-sleeping is a personal decision parents must make.
Proponents say it helps mom and baby bond, but some studies show it can be dangerous. Now, one woman is hoping to provide parents peace of mind, while keeping their babies close.
Jennifer Doering, PhD, RN, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee says sleeping with your children isn't without risk. Doering says, "Approximately 4,000 babies die of sleep related infant death every year."
A recent study shows nearly 74 percent of deaths in babies less than four months old occurred in a bed-sharing situation. Now, Doering and her team are developing an infant sleep pod to keep babies safe. It's called the NightOwl sleeper.
Here's how it works: "You take the baby and you put it in underneath the bridge. It's one directional so that the parents can't put the baby in the wrong way. The bridge itself will protect the baby's air space and the pod itself will contain the baby so the baby can't escape" Doering says.
If a blanket or pillow falls on the bridge or if the baby is in a dangerous position, an alarm alerts parents. The sleep pod can be used anywhere. The sofa is the most dangerous place for infants.
Doering says, "When they are young, their neck muscles are not developed enough to be able to lift their head away from the crack and so they suffocate inside of the couch."
The sleeper is designed for infants up to six months — the most critical period for infant deaths. Doering says the pod also allows dads to come back into bed without fear of rolling onto their babies. She hopes to have the pod available for parents by the end of this year.