Natural Parenting Toolbox: Co-Sleep Safety Guidelines

Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind about babies and sleeping:

  • Babies should be put to sleep on their backs until they are at least 6 months old. Sleeping on the sides or the stomach can increase chances of blocked air passages. However they can, and should, be placed on their stomachs sometimes while playing.
  • Don’t co-sleep on a free-floating waterbed, extremely soft or pliable mattress, or couch. These soft surfaces can be a suffocation hazard.
  • Partner should keep the baby between them rather than against the wall or the open side of the bed
  • Remove all extra bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals from any bed the baby is sleeping in.
  • Do not use deep-pile lambskin (more than 1-1/4”) as a sleeping surface for baby. This can be a suffocation hazard and also collects dust, which can affect breathing.
  • Allow baby’s limbs to be free. Do not swaddle her tightly in blankets while she is sleeping. Babies should not be overheated while sleeping. Do not put a hat on baby’s head during indoor sleep times.
  • Do not let baby sleep unsupervised in a carriage or stroller.
  • Do not sleep with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of any tranquilizing medications.
  • Do not encourage other people, such as babysitters or grandparents, to sleep with a small baby. They are unlikely to have the type of awareness of the baby during the night that you have.
  • Do not allow siblings to sleep with a baby younger than nine months.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke in any room where baby sleeps.

Following these basic guidelines will insure that you and your baby can safely share sleep together, just as millions of parents and babies do, all over the world.