We let our baby sleep with us in our bed. Is this a good idea?
- Liz and Eric
Experts recommend room-sharing without bed-sharing to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths in infants up to 1 year of age.
Cosleeping — sharing your bed with your baby — is an issue that people often disagree on. Proponents say it helps a baby fall asleep, is easier on nursing mothers, and promotes the bond between parent and child.
Opponents of cosleeping say that in addition to making the baby dependent on the parents to fall asleep, it can be dangerous. The adult bed can be unsafe — parents could roll over onto the baby, the baby could be suffocated in the bedding or could get trapped between the mattress and a wall or headboard. Cosleeping increases the risk of SIDS, especially in babies of mothers who smoke.
Many parents find that they can get some of the benefits of cosleeping without the risks by having the baby sleep in a bassinet, play yard, or crib in the same room, near their bed. And products are available that attach to the side of the bed so that babies are within reach of their parents but still in their own safe space.
Parents who do choose to cosleep should be sure to:
Do not bed-share if you are a smoker or have taken any drugs, alcohol, or other substances that could make you groggy and less responsive to your child (such as nighttime cough medicines, certain pain medications, antidepressants, or sleep aids). Cosleeping is also more dangerous when there are multiple people, including children, in the bed.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This federal agency collects information about consumer goods and issues recalls on unsafe or dangerous products.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
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|Cosleeping and Your Baby Cosleeping is controversial in the United States. Supporters believe that a parent's bed is just where an infant belongs. But is it safe?|
|Household Safety: Preventing Strangulation and Entrapment Kids can strangle or become entrapped in the most unexpected ways - even cords, strings on clothing, and infant furniture and accessories can be dangerous. Read how to prevent these dangers around your home.|
|Bedrooms: Household Safety Checklist Use these checklists to make a safety check of your home, including your nursery, child's room, adult's bedroom. You should answer "yes" to all of these questions.|
|Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old. Though SIDS remains unpredictable, you can help reduce your infant's risk.|
|Choosing Safe Baby Products: Cribs Choosing baby products can be confusing with all the gadgets available. But one consideration must never be compromised: your baby's safety.|
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