Making It Work: Guidelines for Safe Co-Sleeping
Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned parents that sleeping with their baby was too hazardous. Babies, they say, should always sleep in cribs. While we applaud the CPSC's efforts to protect children, we believe that their warnings unnecessarily frighten parents and do not provide adequate information about safe sleeping choices. There is no evidence that infants who sleep with aware, well-informed parents are at any greater risk than crib-sleeping infants. In fact, research has shown that babies who sleep with their parents are at a much lower risk for SIDS, have better physiological regulation, and receive more touching, breastfeeding, and protection. Millions of parents in the U.S. and around the world sleep with their children safely every night, as they have for thousands of years. Co-sleeping is safe and beneficial for infants -- and their parents. If you choose to co-sleep, the following guidelines should always be followed:
Guidelines for Sleeping With Your Baby
- Always place baby to sleep on their back.
- Baby should sleep next to mother, rather than between mother and father.
- Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed. Use a mesh guardrail and be sure the guardrail is flush against the mattress and fill in any crevice with a rolled-up baby blanket or towel.
- Use a large bed with a mattress that fits snugly against the rail or is flush up against a wall. Don't use fluffy bedding or cover baby with comforters, etc.
- Do not sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or sleep-inducing over-the-counter medications or if you are overly exhausted from sleep deprivation
- Do not allow baby-sitters or older siblings to sleep with baby.
- Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch, bean bag chair, waterbed or air mattress.
- Do not let baby sleep unattended on an adult bed.
- Don't overly bundle baby, because they get additional warmth from the mother's body. Overheating can be dangerous to infants.