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Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 02.24.09
Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?
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Many parents have differing opinions on whether sleeping with their baby is a beneficial and safe practice.  Mothers who breastfeed often sleep with their infants to make those midnight feedings a little easier.  Some parents also feel sleeping with their baby gives them the extra bonding time they need.  But is it safe?

A new study recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows a rise in accidental suffocation related deaths of infants who sleep with their parents.  According to the study, 315 babies were suffocated when a parent accidentally rolled over on them in bed during the years of 2003 and 2004. 

CNN released a report with the study’s findings and also spoke with women who are both for and against parents co-sleeping with their young babies.  One woman by the name of Lisa West-Mullen urges parents to heed the advice of the CDC as she lost her 4-month-old when she accidentally rolled over on him in bed one morning. 

Another woman from the report finds that sleeping with her infant to be perfectly safe.  Beverly Steiger said, “It’s really hard to explain, but you have such a heightened awareness when you’re exclusively breastfeeding your baby.  I would never, ever roll over on him.  It would never, ever happen.”  Pediatrician, Dr. Bob Sears agrees with Steiger.  He believes the CDC report doesn’t prove co-sleeping is really dangerous.  He stressed that if co-sleeping is done correctly it can be very safe. 

There are other options of course for the parent who wants to sleep near their baby but worries about safety issues.  Devices like the co-sleeper, a crib that attaches to the bed, are made for parents who want to be in arm’s reach of their baby but don’t want to share a bed.  There are also small protective infant sleepers that fit right into the parents’ bed with hard sides that can prevent accidents. 

To view the CNN video clip regarding the CDC reports you can visit:

What do you think about the latest CDC report that shows a rise in infant co-sleeping related accidents?

Do you think sleeping with an infant can be done safely?


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  • tigpooh1516 By tigpooh1516

    I myself was not comfortable with my babies being right there, whether it be because I was scared of rolling over, them falling off of our bed, the sheets suffocating them or even them getting their head up around my pillows...the risk for something happening was just too great and I wasn't about to take a chance that was NOT necessary. They each slept in a bassinet right by my side every night and that was enough for me. To know I could reach out a hand and lay it on them at night if I wanted or pick them up and hold them if they were scared. I didn't need to risk their lives by having them in my bed with me. Everyone needs to decide for themselves what they are going to do. I would not want to push my judgement on anyone, it just wasn't worth the risk to me.

  • BlondieKAA By BlondieKAA

    I agree that each family needs to decide what is best for them in this particular situation. I have co-slept with my baby on a few occasions in the early months when it just gets so tiring to get up every 2 hours with the baby. I am definitely a light sleeper and agree with Beverly Steiger when she said that you have a "heightened awareness".

  • Cinnamonmomof3 By Cinnamonmomof3

    All 3 of my children slept in my bed until they where a few years old. I would not do it any other way however, You have to figure out what is right for your child. I feel sorry for those that lost a child when they rolled over on them. That is a very sad thing, but do we know if the parents where drinking before bed, or on meds, or where they just heavy sleepers? I'm lucky to be a light sleeper, or I would not have done it. Also you can get the co-sleeper bed that set up next to your bed so the baby if not in your bed but at an arms reach.

  • ann818marie By ann818marie

    I believe it is up to each family to decide what is best for their family. Everyone has different beliefs and situations. As long as the parents are safe about it, I think that if they so desire they should have their babies sleep with them. Personally, I would be scared to death that my husband or I would roll on her or hurt her. I wouldn't do it but wouldn't judge anyone who did!

  • krissylea By krissylea

    I have five children ranging in age from 2 years to 17 years. Absolutely everyone of them have coslept with my husband and I. We never at any time had any problems with it. As a matter of fact, my 17 year olds are twins so when they were liitle, it was both of them cosleeping with us. I believe the relationship with our kids is stronger now because of the bonding when they were so young.

  • aluminare By aluminare

    we had our baby in our bed for a long time. i was very tired... she wouldn't breastfeed and i had to wake up every hour and a half to pump and feed her, and it would take me another half hour for her to get to sleep(rocking her). so i decided to let her sleep in our bed. i loved having her next to me, so tiny and beautiful, and that smell of a newborn. it was amazing. the downside was that i am a heavy sleeper and i don't know what i do when i sleep so i would wake up with her crying and i was covering her face with my arm...i know, very scary. so that had to end. i'm glad she cried. anyways, i guess what i am trying to say is that if you are a heavy sleeper, don't put your baby in bed with you...

  • pretgrl By pretgrl

    I breast fed my 2 girls (4 and 10) and they both slept in the bed with me from the first night in the Hospital. They are well adjusted and sleep on their own in their own beds. Nothing wrong with it IMO.

  • ccarlyle By ccarlyle

    Have have a 9 year at co-sleep with us for 6 years. He is just now started with the stop hugging me and leave me alone thing. Now my 2 yaer co-sleeps with us and one day she will also want me to not hug on her so much. I love giving my kids as much time as a can day and night.

  • nutmeg By nutmeg

    I used the co-sleeper( attached directly to my bedside) for my youngest child. I slept much better without the fear of rolling over on her or her falling out of my bed. I was able to just reach over and breast fed her and then placed her back safely within arms reach.

  • vrdrago By vrdrago

    I have done both. For me, the choice to co-sleep with the oldest was a life saver, I actually slept with him ON my chest and I was so hyper-aware while I slept that one night I woke up because he wasn't breathing. We rushed to the ER and it turned out his reflux was causing it. My second would not sleep with me or I would have put him in the bed. He refused to sleep unless he was left alone and had all the space available. My youngest sleeps with me and even in the hospital he would not sleep unless I held him against me. I don't know about other parents and I would prefer to have my bed to myself but they spent 9 months in my body and I refuse to rip them away from that comfort as babies unless they want it. Believe me, after 2 that co-slept and 1 that wouldn't, it's obvious what they feel more comfort with!

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