Is a mother sleeping in the same bed as their baby as dangerous as these graphic PSAs make it seem?

Re these ads.

Mothers and their babies have been sleeping together since the dawn of time. Is this a real danger?

Newspaper article here

People have been sleeping with their infants since the dawn of time, but for most of those years their bedding hasn’t been as elaborate as what we sleep on and under now. Duvets, pillows and all manner of soft, smothery bed accessories are likely responsible.

Two thirds of unexplained cot death autopsies in the UK were performed on infants who had been co-sleeping. Cite. I saw a similar article about Australian AIDS statistics recently, but haven’t been able to track it down. That’s quite a sobering statistic.

Yes. Fat people squish and suffocate little people who can’t get out of the way.

When my children were babies, it was a definite ‘no no’ to sleep with your baby. I used to feel guilty because I did bring my third child back to bed with me a few times - it was cold, he wouldn’t sleep and I was exhausted etc. When my daughter had her children everything had changed. No-one seemed to think it was a bad thing anymore and all her babies slept with her. Her youngest is now eight so perhaps the pendulum is swinging back again.

Those ads, this close to Halloween, are really creepy.

I didn’t think I’d need to be afraid of my kids for a few more years yet.

I don’t think it’s that bad in a bed, but still a small amount of risk. We were worried about it so bought a wee micro cot thing for our newborn - goes in our bed but has small raised sides that would prevent a squishing incident. Now she’s 5 months we no longer use it and my wife takes her in to the regular bed when she won’t settle.

Falling asleep on a couch, or a comfy chair, with the bairn is far more dangerous. Plenty of scope for the baby to fall off, get trapped against you down the side etc. People probably wouldn’t choose to do this but can easily happen when you’re exhausted staying up with a newborn.

Which in no way establishes the cause.

Our pediatrician thought co-sleeping was fine as long as the parents were not intoxicated.

Our antenatal classes (less than three years ago) told us it’s fine unless one of the parents is drunk or seriously overweight.

My son’s been sleeping with me off and on (mostly on) since he was born. He’s seven in a couple of weeks. <shrug> Just be safe about it.

Don’t use the same blankets as the child. Put up a small physical barrier between you and the child and also use a barrier so the child doesn’t fall off the bed. We’ve done that and it worked out fine.

No. Fat people no more roll over on their babies as they do on their spouses. Neither do skinny people. Drunk people, on the other hand…

For a breast feeding mom, especially a WORKING mom who has to get up and go to work in the morning, co-sleeping is practically mandatory.

Mom knows EXACTLY where that kid is, every single second.

Breast feeding is SO MUCH EASIER when baby is right next to you, too.

I’ll reiterate what was stated above: if Mom or Dad (or whoever else might be in the family bed) has been drinking or is in any way impaired, then co-sleeping is NOT a great idea.

No. It seems there is a slightly increased risk, but not one warranting warning all parents against co-sleeping as though it were proven deadly. Obviously, drunk/high people (which are regrettably numerous) or those who smoke cigarettes in bed should NOT have their infant in there with them…

I spent years co-sleeping with my pet rats who weighed a pound or less, a newborn infant seems indestructible comparatively. I do not get intoxicated and I am also not accustomed to using suffocating bedding (we have a firm mattress, sheet, thin blanket in winter, 1 flat pillow). I won’t hesitate to bring my future babies in bed with me, though I might use one of those sidecar thingies just for the extra room and railing.

I think accidents can happen. My mother told me she nearly suffocated me in the hospital when I was brought to her for feeding shortly after my birth (1960). She was exhausted, the nurse left the room and Mom fell asleep.

I understand circumstances vary between families, but I have never thought children sleeping with parents was a good idea. Kids need to learn to sleep in their own beds.

Of course, since I don’t have kids, my opinion is worthless. Whatever a couple and the baby’s doctor decide is best for that mom/couple and their child is the best thing for them.

I’d say that’s inconclusive. I do recall, back when our kids were younger, that SIDS was much higher in industrial countries where co-sleeping is less common, and some theory that the normal movement of parents in their sleep might prevent the child from getting stuck in a bad position.

I remember an account on a bird-owner website of a woman inadvertently crushing her parrot to death while sleeping in the same bed with it. It was horrifying to read.

Milwaukee has a campaign warning against co-sleeping. The 9th baby this year has died from it.

The Master speaks:

If a baby dies unexpectedly in a cot, it’s “SIDS” and the cot is not at fault. If a baby dies unexpectedly while co-sleeping it’s “a co-sleeping death” and the co-sleeping is at fault.

Colour me sceptical. When I was a kid, all mothers were told to lay their babies on their tummies to sleep in case they aspirated vomit in the night. Now it’s the opposite. The crib/co-sleeping debate is inherently political because it’s an Attachment Parenting touchstone, so your opinion of that parenting philosophy will really influence whether your baby “ought” to be in a cot or in your bed.

Here, for instance is a highly agenda-driven but nonetheless stats-filled site claiming the exact opposite.