Are you considering co-sleeping with your baby? If you take the following precautions, you and your baby should be able to enjoy a restful, safe sleep:
- Always place babies under six months old on their backs when they sleep and not on their tummies.
- Don’t sleep with your baby if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any other substance that could diminish your awareness of your baby.
- Don’t sleep with your baby on soft surfaces such as bean bags, water beds or soft couches.
- Try to avoid crevices that your baby can fall into, such as those between the mattress and the wall, or the mattress and side rail.
- Avoid side rails, headboards and root boards with slats that could entrap your baby’s head.
- Don’t put your bed near any curtains or blinds that have dangling strings.
- If you have more than one child, it’s best to only have one baby in your bed at a time.
What about the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?
In two of his books, The Baby Sleep Book and SIDS: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, paediatrician Dr Sears references a great deal of research that shows that there should be no increased risk of SIDS with co-sleeping.
“The rate of SIDS is lowest in cultures that traditionally co-sleep,” says Dr Sears. “While there could be many other factors contributing to the lower incidence of SIDS in these cultures, all the population studies I’ve seen have come to the same conclusion: Safe co-sleeping lowers the SIDS risk,” she says.