Some parents choose to share a bed or other sleep surface (also known as co-sleeping) with their babies. Read our advice on how to co-sleep more safely.
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own clear, flat, separate sleep space, such as a cot or Moses basket. However, we know that many parents find themselves co-sleeping whether they mean to or not. Wherever you’re planning for your baby to sleep we recommend making your bed a safer place for baby. Our advice on co-sleeping with your baby will tell you how.
When not to co-sleep
Whether you choose to co-sleep or it is unplanned, there are some key risks you should avoid.
Co-sleeping with your baby is very dangerous if:
- you or anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol
- you or anyone in the bed smokes
- you or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs or medication that make you feel sleepy
- your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½ lbs when they were born.
In these scenarios, it is always best to put baby in their own safe sleep space, such as a cot or Moses basket. Keeping the cot or Moses basket next to your bed might make this easier.
Never fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby. The risk of SIDS is 50 times higher for babies when they sleep on a sofa or armchair with an adult. They are also at risk of accidental death as they can easily slip into a position where they are trapped and can’t breathe.
Co-sleeping more safely
- Keep pillows and adult bedding away from your baby or any other items that could cover their head or cause them to overheat. A high proportion of babies who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding.
- Follow all The Lullaby Trust’s other safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping baby on their back
- To reduce the risk of accidents, do not bring other children or pets into bed with you.
- Try to make sure or check that baby cannot be trapped, wedged or fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall
- Never leave your baby unattended in an adult bed
If you are bedsharing with your baby you should consider any risks before every sleep. It is easy for your situation to change if you are unwell or have drunk any alcohol, which means your baby will be safest in a separate sleep space such as a cot or Moses basket on that occasion.
If you are interested in this topic, you can find more information on the website www.lullabytrust.org.uk