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Higher asthma risk in toddlers who share bed with parents

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Toddlers who share a bed with their parents could have an increased risk of asthma in later life, suggests new research.

A study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed data on 6,160 mothers and their children in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Researchers gathered information on children’s wheezing and asthma every year from the age of one to six and also looked at sleep patterns when children were two months and then two years old.

They found two-month-old babies who shared with parents did not have a higher risk of wheezing in later life.

However, two-year-olds who shared did seem more likely to go on to develop wheezing symptoms and be diagnosed with asthma.

Researchers explored the idea the findings could be explained by parents deliberately sharing a bed with their young child to keep an eye on asthma symptoms.

However, they found toddlers who wheezed in infancy were not more likely to share with mum or dad at age two.

“The study shows there is an association between toddlers who share a bed with their parents at the age of two years and wheezing and asthma in later childhood,” said study author Dr Maartje Luijik, from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

“This could suggest that bed-sharing increase the risk of asthma in some way but this study does not provide causal evidence of this,” he said.

Other factors at play could include the fact families who share beds might be more likely to report wheezing because they are more aware of it.

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