I don’t think Cecil did this subject justice, only representing one side of the story. Yes, it is possible, but not probable, given the right circumstances. He copped out. Here is more valuable information to someone considering the family bed.
There is all kinds of evidience that squishing your baby is the exception to the rule. Third world countries routinely co-sleep (the scientific word for it) and have a much lower incidence of SIDs. (not that that is the only reason they have less SIDs, just to prove co-sleeping dosn’t CAUSE SIDs).
There is a professor James McKenna at Notre Dame studying this and he has come up with many benefits. See link to the main page: http://www.naturalchild.com/james_mckenna/
My son is turning two next week and I have slept with him every night of his life. I am a light sleeper (and so is he, which started the arrangement). He has not fallen out of bed once, I have not even come close to squishing him. The slightest disturbance in him wakes me so I can care for his needs - too cold, too warm, stuffed up nose, etc. He is not scarred or anything from this experience, if anything, it has given him better self-confidence and made him more free to show affection. There are several people with positive experiences, there is a whole board dedicated to it at iVillage.com:
Here are some other articles, not by professors, but by other normal people worth reading.
There is no proof of higher incidence of infant death in family beds than in solitary sleeping children. Most cases of rollover are because the adult in question is not in the right condition. If you haven’t been drinking, if you aren’t taking medications, if you remove possible suffocation items from the bed, like fluffy pillows and comforters, if you make sure the baby can’t get caught between the bed and the wall, you aren’t anymore likely to cause trouble than putting the baby in bed.
Don’t flame me unless you know what you’re talking about…