Bed sharing has many benefits for both baby and parents. Not only does sharing the same bed provide a great bonding opportunity, it makes those dreaded late night feedings a whole lot easier to manage. But for all of the benefits, there are also serious risks involved in sleeping with your baby, including SIDS. If you want to make sure your bed is as safe for your baby as it can be, you should know the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS when you bed share.
As WebMD mentioned, more than 2,000 infants died of SIDS-related deaths in the United States in 2010, with more than 90 percent of the deaths occurring in infants younger than six months. According to Kids Health, bed sharing babies who are premature, have low birth weight, or are younger than four-months-old have the highest risk of SIDS.
If you are planning to share your bed with your baby, it is important to take extra precautions to prevent an accident while you're sleeping. Placing baby to sleep on his back, giving him a pacifier, and removing loose, bulky bedding are just a few simple things you can do to decrease your baby's risk of SIDS immediately. As you are preparing to make room for baby in your bed, do your best to create the safest environment.
1. Place Baby On His Back
One of the simplest ways to reduce your infant's risk for SIDS is to place him to sleep in a position in which his breathing is not inhibited. As Kelly Mom mentioned, placing baby on his back is the safest sleeping position.
2. Give Him A Binky
Giving your baby her binky at night time and nap time can literally be a life saver. Sucking on a pacifier can correct some of the developmental deficiencies that cause SIDS, according to Scientific American.
3. Remove Bulky Bedding
If you are going to allow baby to sleep with you in your bed, try to keep it as free of extra items as possible. As Kelly Mom recommended, there should be no loose pillows, blankets or stuffed animals around the baby's sleeping area.
4. Keep Others Out
As Dr. Sears told Parenting, avoid allowing pets, siblings, and caregivers to bed share. They may not have the same awareness of baby's presence when they are sleeping.
5. Don't Smoke
Smoking around your baby is generally unsafe, and it's even more important to make sure you don't smoke in your bedroom if you are bed-sharing with your baby. As Baby Center mentioned, a baby's risk of SIDS increases with each smoker in the household.
6. Mind The Gap
In an article in Parenting, Dr. Sears warned cautioned bed sharing parents to make sure there are no cracks or crevices between the mattress and the guard rail where baby's head could get stuck.
7. Limit Your Drinking
If you share your bed with baby you need to be as alert as possible so that you are aware of your movements and avoid suffocating your baby. As Kids Health mentioned, bed sharing parents who drink or use drugs increase their baby's risk of SIDS.
8. Don't Overheat Your Baby
Avoid dressing your baby in too many layers when sleeping. As Baby Center mentioned, you should dress your baby in no more than one extra layer than you would wear while you sleep to prevent overheating.
9. Provide A Firm Surface
If you plan to bed share with your baby, it's time to say goodbye to that waterbed. As Today's Parent mentioned, be sure that your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress.