Co-sleeping is common in many cultures. Newborns, babies and children go to sleep in their parents’ bed, and sleep with them throughout the night.

Often children stay in the parental bed until they are 8 or 10 years old. Parents who encourage co-sleeping believe it helps children bond.

I believe that co-sleeping is not helpful to either the parent or child. It does not teach a child to sleep alone which they must do, at nap time, or when they are older. Most importantly, no one gets a good night’s sleep.

In terms of bonding, I think that co-sleeping has risks and rewards. However, being able to soothe oneself; to relax and enjoy sleep, without being dependent on others, is a significant developmental milestone.

Suffocation Risk

“In 2008 both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly advised against co-sleeping. Infants who slept in the same beds as their parents were at a greater risk of SIDS, particularly if one or both parents smoked. The babies were also at risk of accidental suffocation or strangulation due to a parent accidentally rolling over on them, having their faces covered or caught up in blankets or bedding, or having their noses and mouths pressed against that mattress.”

Statistics on Co-Sleeping

According to a report released in September 1999 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were 515 deaths of infants in that year that were attributed to co-sleeping.

  • 394 of the infant deaths were the result of the baby suffocating as they got caught up in blankets and bedding.

  • 121 infants dies because a parent accidentally rolled on top of them without realizing it and suffocated the baby.
  • 290 of the deaths were caused by the baby getting its head caught between the mattress and the headboard, wall, or furniture next to the bed.
  • 36 deaths were caused by the infant strangling as its head was caught between railings on the bed or between the mattress and a portable bed railing.