How to co-sleep more safely

Tips from The Lullaby Trust on looking after your baby at night

Important information if you co-sleep with your baby

If you do co-sleep with your baby, it’s important to follow these guidelines

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If you decide to share a bed with your baby or there is a chance you may fall asleep with your baby in bed unintentionally, it is still important to make sure you are following safer sleep advice.

A survey of over 8,500 parents carried out by the safer sleep baby charity The Lullaby Trust showed that 76% of parents admit that they have co-slept with their baby at some point. However, over 40% of parents admitted to having done so in dangerous circumstances such as on a sofa, having drunk alcohol or as a smoker. All of these circumstances greatly increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (also known as cot death or SIDS).

The survey found that co-sleeping on a sofa or armchair was the biggest risk, with 40% of parents admitting to having done so and 25% having done so more than once. 

You should never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair, this increases the risk of SIDS by 50 times.
The survey also found that 12% of respondents smoke and share a bed with their baby and 9% have done so after drinking alcohol. Studies have found that bed-sharing with your baby after drinking alcohol or using drugs or if you are a smoker has a very high risk of SIDS. 
If you do co-sleep with your baby, it’s important to follow this safety advice:

  • Keep the space around your baby clear of pillows and duvets 
  • Always sleep your baby on their back 
  • Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed 
  • Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or become trapped between the mattress and wall 
  • Never leave baby alone in the bed 

It is important to know there are some circumstances where it is dangerous to share a bed with your baby. You should not co-sleep if: 

  • Either you or anyone in the bed smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom) 
  • Either you or anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol 
  • You or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs that make you feel sleepy 
  • Your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½ lbs when they were born

How to co-sleep more safely