In national polls, 25% of US mothers admit to bed sharing (or co-sleeping) with their baby. Do you know how to do this safely?
What defines a safe sleep environment for bedsharing/co-sleeping:
- Always place babies in the supine position for sleep.
- Use a firm, flat surface, preferably a mattress on the floor.
- Avoid waterbeds, couches, sofas, pillows, soft materials, or loose bedding.
- Avoid duvets, comforters, pillows, and stuffed animals in the infant’s sleep environment.
- If blankets are used, they should be tucked in around the mattress so that the infant’s head is less likely to be covered.
- Ensure that the baby’s head will not be covered.
- Never put an infant down to sleep on a pillow or adjacent to a pillow.
- Never leave an infant alone on an adult bed.
- Ensure that there are no spaces between the mattress and headboard, walls, and other surfaces, which may entrap the infant and lead to suffocation.
- Place a firm mattress directly on the floor away from walls.
- Another alternative to sharing an adult bed is using infant bed that attaches to side of adult bed.
Certain practices are unsafe for bed sharing/co-sleeping. These make co-sleeping dangerous:
- Tobacco smoke is hazardous.
- Never allow smoking in your home. Do not smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
- Alcohol use is hazardous, as are illicit or mind-altering drugs used by the adult who is bed-sharing.
- Sharing sofas, couches, recliners, and daybeds is hazardous.
- Sharing waterbeds is dangerous.
- Use of soft bedding materials is hazardous.
- Sharing beds with adjacent spaces that could trap an infant is dangerous.
- Prone position of baby is always hazardous.
- Placement of the infant in the adult bed in the prone or side lying position is dangerous.
- Infants bed sharing with other children is hazardous.