Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: from the fire roads to the interstate
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The crib as sidecar is not a problem at all as far as safety goes - a crib is heavy and sturdy, and it isn't going to move (I imagine that baby falling through a crack between the bed and crib is your main concern?). It didn't work for us, though because even at the lowest setting, the crib mattress wasn't even with our futon. It was like a little shelf sitting there about 5 inches higher than us. But with a regular bed, this might not be a problem.
I only know one person who has the Arms Reach, and she said it was the most expensive nightstand she ever bought. The baby just didn't like it. FWIW, we also have a full size, and we put Mr. Baby in between us with no problems. We pushed our pillows apart so that there was a space between them, and lay him down in that space with his head up by the wall at the head of the bed (if you can visualize this!). It worked out just fine.
After a while, we got a bed rail, and that was even better. They are pretty cheap, and once they're up, really make the bed seem a lot bigger, because the baby can be lying right at the edge, safely.
But if you really think you'll need extra room and are feeling crowded as it is now, I'd encourage the in-laws to get the co-sleeper for you! Or, if either of you is handy, you can just build one yourself as some other friends of mine did - a little platform with 3 sides, a piece of foam, some bassinet sheets, and you're set.