Mishal Zafar

Here's When Your Kids Can Start Sharing A Bed

The first time I saw my two daughters sleeping snuggled up to each other, I remember it filling me with a new sense of love and hope. I could see a future for them where they were not only siblings, but friends that would look out for each other, even if I was gone. Yes, I was being a little emotional and melodramatic, but there is a wonderful bond that siblings have, and the closer they are, the stronger the bond. But there are safety issues when bed-sharing involves babies, so when can kids start sharing a bed together?

When it comes to children, following safety guidelines for sleep positions and bed-sharing is very important. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), while room-sharing reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in small babies by 50 percent, bed-sharing is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age, and is more preferable after they turn 1 year old.

Elizabeth Pantley, author of No-Cry Sleep Solution, noted on her website that when it comes to sharing a bed with their siblings, it's safest to wait until children are over 18 months old. Along with the age factor, the decision on when to start should also be based on the kid's size comparisons and sleep history. If you do decide to have your children co-sleep, Pantley suggested that you make sure the room is safe in case they get up at night, stay nearby so you can shush them if they decide to tell stories instead of sleep, and establish a bedtime routine, so they can fall asleep easier.

As a parent, you know how your children sleep. I know that my daughters make full 360 degree turns through the night, and end up with one kid's foot on the other kid's face. So if you feel that one child is more fragile than the other, or that one child sleeps a little more aggressively, it might be a good idea to wait until they are both strong enough to duke out their sleep habits. When they are ready, sharing a bed can give them a means to strengthen their friendship and bolster their bond.