The safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own safe sleeping place, for all sleeps, night and day.
Red Nose recommends sleeping baby in a cot next to the parents’ bed for the first six to twelve months, as this has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death.
Sometimes, parents may choose to share a sleep surface with their baby due to parenting preferences or cultural beliefs. Other times, it may be due to unavoidable living circumstances.
Sharing a sleep surface with your baby – also known as bed sharing – can often lead to co-sleeping which can increase the risk of sudden unexpected infant death (SUDI), SIDS and fatal sleep accidents in some circumstances.
If you co-sleep with your baby, it’s important to know how to do it more safely and to understand when not to co-sleep with your baby.
- Sharing a sleep surface with a baby can increase the risk of SUDI in some circumstances. A considerable proportion of SUDI occur on a shared sleeping surface.
- Babies most at risk of SUDI when sharing a sleep surface are those less than 3 months postnatal age, babies who were born preterm or small for gestational age.
- The risks are always much greater if parents smoke or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription or illegal) that cause sedation and impair their ability to respond to their baby.
- There is a very high risk of infant death, including deaths attributed to fatal sleeping accidents, when a baby shares a sofa or couch with an adult during sleep.
- There is no increased risk of SUDI whilst sharing a sleep surface with a baby during feeding, cuddling and playing providing that the baby is returned to a cot or their own safe sleeping surface on their back before the parent goes to sleep.
If you do choose to co-sleep we recommend following our safer co-sleeping advice to help keep baby safer and reduce the risk of death or injury.
Last modified: 14/1/22