Recently, co-sleeping was in the news again when infant twins in Idaho were killed as a result of co-sleeping. This has led to a myriad of debates about the practice of co-sleeping and whether or not it is safe.
At the most technical level, most experts say that co-sleeping does carry some measure of risk. Yet, millions of families co-sleep without a problem, and on the flip side, infants that do not co-sleep have a stronger risk of dying from SIDs. So, the question remains, can co-sleeping be safe?
Co-sleeping can be safe if certain rules are followed. First, suffocation hazards, like blankets and pillows, must be kept away from the baby. Second, never co-sleep if one of the adults who will share the bed has been using drugs or alcohol, even in modest amounts. This makes it harder for these individuals to wake fully and be fully aware of their surroundings.
Baby should sleep near mom but away from soft things. If dad is a particularly heavy sleeper, then mom should keep the baby on the other side, rather than between her and dad, using a rail of some sort to keep baby from rolling off of the bed. Co-sleeping positioners can also be used to keep baby safe anywhere on the bed.
The bottom line is that statistics show a slightly increased risk for co-sleeping babies, but that does not mean it cannot be done properly. The key is to follow these rules and be in tune to your baby at all times. By doing this, it is possible to co-sleep safely.