Baby Sleeping with Parents Safety Tips

If you decide that cosleeping (sharing your bed) is the right sleep situation for you and your new baby, please keep these very important safety considerations in mind:

  • Keep blankets (particularly heavy ones), quilts, comforters and pillows away from your baby to avoid possible suffocation. Also, make certain stuffed animals are nowhere near your baby's face. All bedding (such as sheets) should be fitted properly and securely to the mattress. If you're worried about your baby staying warm, use blanket sleepers.
  • Keep curtains, blinds and all drapery away from your bed to avoid possible strangulation by hanging cords.
  • Do not leave your baby alone in an adult bed, even if he or she is fast asleep.
  • If you or your partner is significantly overweight, you may want to consider a special 3-sided cosleeper for the side of your bed to keep your baby from being rolled on.
  • Place your baby on his or her back to sleep. Tummy sleeping can lead to SIDS.
  • Do not cosleep with your baby on a waterbed, pillowtop mattress, sofa, recliner, beanbag chair or any other soft surface. A firm, smooth mattress is best.
  • Do not cosleep with your baby if you are extremely sleep-deprived, a very sound sleeper or under the influence of any medications that make you sleepy, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter.
  • Impairment by drugs or alcohol will diminish your awareness of your baby, making you drowsy and much harder to wake. Do not cosleep if you have been using these substances.
  • Do not cosleep with your baby if you use tobacco. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of SIDS.
  • Avoid overdressing your baby. Your body heat will probably keep your baby warm enough. Overheating can potentially lead to SIDS.
  • Make sure there's no way for your baby to fall out of bed. Mesh guardrails are an option, but make sure they are safe to use for babies. A mattress on the floor is even better. Special 3-sided cosleepers eliminate the possibility of falls. They resemble playpens, but are the same height as most adult beds. With this device, your baby is basically in bed with you but cannot fall out.
  • Never allow pets to sleep in bed with you and your baby, no matter how much they are part of your family.
  • Push your bed flush against the wall, and make sure the mattress is snug against the headboard and footboard to keep your baby's head or body from becoming trapped. There shouldn't be any space between your mattress and the wall or headboard. Also, don't let your baby sleep in a bed with a fancy headboard that has openings which could be dangerous.
  • If you are cosleeping with your baby, don't allow older children (especially toddlers) to sleep in the bed with your baby. Children may not be aware of the baby's presence and may roll on him or her.
  • When your baby is old enough to crawl off the bed, be sure your room is completely childproof, as he or she may just try exploring while you sleep one night!

If you take safety very seriously, cosleeping can have many benefits for your baby as well as for you and your partner. However, if you can't or don't adhere to the guidelines above, a bassinet or crib is a much safer place for your baby to sleep.

More info on Bed Sharing:

Cosleeping
Cosleeping Risks
Cosleeping Pros
SIDS

More Baby Safety and Child Proofing Tips

Safety Latches and Locks
Corner and Edge Bumpers
Safety Gates
Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates
Door Knob Covers and Door Locks
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
Anti-Scald Devices
Window Blind Cords/Safety Tassels
Smoke Detectors
Door Stops and Door Holders
Window Guards and Safety Netting
Cordless Phones