Bed sharing is when an adult or another child sleeps on the same surface as a baby, like a bed, couch, chair, futon or armchair. While it may be an extremely common practice to share bed, it is ideally not recommended to do so.
Bed sharing is not safe because of the following potential hazards:
A baby can suffocate if:
- He or she becomes trapped between objects like the sleeping surface, the body of the adult or another child, the wall and other objects.
- The adult or another child rolls over onto the baby.
- There are soft bedding materials, like pillows or comforters, in the bed.
Babies sleeping on a high surface can fall off and be seriously hurt.
Some people believe that bed sharing will reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but there is no evidence to support this view. In fact, research shows that the risk of SIDS is higher if the baby is sharing a bed with a person who is a smoker, very tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
On the other hand, room sharing is a safe alternative to bed sharing. Research has shown that it is good for babies to share a room with one or more caregivers, and that it may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).