Is cosleeping too risky? Some parents think yes, but others disagree. Regardless of opinion, the fact remains that if cosleeping parents don't take safety seriously and use common sense when bed sharing, the possibility of their baby being injured or even dying is dramatically increased. If you're thinking of cosleeping, know the benefits, know the risks and most importantly, take precautions to ensure that the arrangement is best -- and safest -- for your baby.
Possibility of Suffocation
If one of the parents (or another child) rolls onto the baby, or if the baby becomes trapped between the mattress and the wall or headboard, the baby can suffocate. Blankets, comforters, pillows, quilts, stuffed animals and even pets can suffocate the baby, as well. Even sleeping with your baby on a sofa or in a recliner or beanbag chair can lead to suffocation. Always take precautions to ensure that your baby is on its back and clear of any smothering hazards.
Possibility of Falls
There is always a risk that a cosleeping baby can fall off the bed. Babies should never be left alone on an adult bed, not even for one second. The best way to avoid serious injuries or death from falls is to have your mattress on the floor and flush against a wall on two sides or to use a special three-sided cosleeper that is the same height as your bed but has rails to keep baby from falling.
Increased Possibility of SIDS
If one or both cosleeping parents smoke, the secondhand smoke increases the baby's chance of SIDS. Multiple family members, such as older children, also cosleeping should be avoided. Also, if you are normally a very sound sleeper or are overly tired, awareness of your baby is decreased. This could lead to rolling on your baby without realizing it or not waking up when your baby's in distress. If you or your partner use tobacco, drugs, alcohol or over-the-counter or prescription medications that make you sleepy, then do not cosleep with your baby! These circumstances can lead to SIDS. If you follow specific safety guidelines, however, cosleeping may actually reduce the incidence of SIDS.
Possibility of Marital Intimacy Interference
It is possible for cosleeping to become a barrier to intimacy, if you let it. Intimacy with your partner doesn't have to suffer when you choose to cosleep with your baby. Cosleeping is a wonderful opportunity for couples to get creative. Making love other places than the marital bed may actually add to intimacy and can be exciting. Or, let grandma babysit one evening a week and go on dates again! If couples are only interested in making love in bed, cosleeping may put a damper on intimacy temporarily.
More info on Bed Sharing:
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