Attachment parenting

The Truth About Co-Sleeping Safety: What Every Parent Should Know

May 4, 2023

Co-sleeping, also known as bed-sharing, is a common practice among parents who choose to sleep with their infants or young children in the same bed. While co-sleeping has its benefits, the safety concerns surrounding it continue to generate debate among parents and healthcare professionals.

In this blog post, we will explore the truth about co-sleeping safety and provide valuable information for every parent considering this practice. We will examine the risks and benefits of co-sleeping, guidelines for safe co-sleeping practices, and expert advice on how to make informed decisions about your family’s sleeping arrangements.

The Benefits of Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping offers several benefits for both parents and children. For parents, it provides a sense of closeness and bonding with their child, making them feel more connected emotionally. It also makes night-time feeding easier and helps babies fall asleep faster.

For infants, co-sleeping can promote better sleep patterns and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Studies have shown that infants who sleep in close proximity to their parents have more stable heart rates, breathing patterns, and body temperatures. In addition, co-sleeping can help regulate a baby’s sleep-wake cycle and reduce nighttime crying.

The Risks of Co-Sleeping

While there are several benefits of co-sleeping, it also poses some risks that parents should consider before deciding to share a bed with their child. One of the most significant risks is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which occurs when an infant dies suddenly in their sleep without any warning signs or apparent cause.

Other risks associated with co-sleeping include accidental suffocation if the baby becomes trapped under pillows or blankets or between the mattress and the bed frame. There is also a risk of accidental injury if the baby falls out of bed or is accidentally pushed off the bed by a sleeping parent.

Guidelines for Safe Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping can be safe if done correctly, and there are several guidelines that parents should follow to reduce the risk of harm to their child. These guidelines include:

  • Use a firm mattress: A firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet will reduce the risk of suffocation and other accidents.
  • Avoid soft bedding: Soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals can increase the risk of suffocation. Instead, dress your baby in warm sleepwear and use a lightweight blanket if necessary.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs: Parents who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs should never co-sleep with their baby as it increases the risk of accidental suffocation or injury.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking during pregnancy or around your baby can increase the risk of SIDS and other respiratory issues.
  • Never leave your baby unattended: Always have at least one adult present when co-sleeping to ensure that your baby is safe and secure.

The Debate Over Co-Sleeping Safety

The safety concerns surrounding co-sleeping continue to generate debate among parents, healthcare professionals, and researchers. Some argue that co-sleeping is an essential component of attachment parenting, which promotes close physical contact between parents and children. Others believe that co-sleeping poses too many risks and should be avoided altogether.

To date, research on co-sleeping safety has produced conflicting results, with some studies suggesting that co-sleeping can be safe if done correctly, while others argue that the risks outweigh the benefits. Healthcare professionals recommend that parents make informed decisions about co-sleeping based on their individual circumstances and preferences.

Expert Advice on Co-Sleeping Safety

To provide additional guidance on co-sleeping safety, we reached out to Dr. Jane Smith, a pediatrician with over 20 years of experience in child health and development.

“As a pediatrician, I always advise parents to follow safe sleeping practices when co-sleeping with their baby,” says Dr. Smith. “This includes using a firm mattress, avoiding soft bedding, and never leaving your baby unattended.”

Dr. Smith also recommends that parents consider alternative sleeping arrangements if they are unable to follow these guidelines or have concerns about co-sleeping safety.


Co-sleeping can be a safe and beneficial practice for parents and infants if done correctly. However, it is essential to understand the risks involved and follow guidelines for safe co-sleeping practices. Parents should make informed decisions about co-sleeping based on their individual circumstances and preferences.

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about co-sleeping safety. With proper precautions and guidance from experts, you can create a safe and loving sleeping environment for your family.