Children unsupervised while parents sleep: Is it safe? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Is it safe for children to be left unsupervised while a parent sleeps?
Yes 21 10.55%
No 34 17.09%
Depends 144 72.36%
Voters: 199. You may not vote on this poll

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Family Safety > Children unsupervised while parents sleep: Is it safe?
onyxravnos's Avatar onyxravnos 09:51 PM 08-21-2008
I agree with most of the others. If the child(ren) are normal over 5ers sure no problem.
Under 5? absolutely no way not ever.

I-AM-Mother's Avatar I-AM-Mother 10:01 PM 08-21-2008
that totally depends on a number of things.
amrijane128's Avatar amrijane128 10:03 PM 08-21-2008
It depends. Every night we lock up our COMPLETELY babyproofed room and go to sleep on our mattress on the floor. Usually my little girl wakes up before me and plays as she wishes. As I'm sure many cosleeping mamas know, there's a 6th sense, even when you're sleeping. If your newborn stops breathing for a SECOND you snap awake despite how deep of a sleep you're in. Same goes for my daughter when she plays, if I hear a cry whine or thud I'm awake in a second.
chantald's Avatar chantald 10:57 AM 08-22-2008
I voted it depends..
My two older children often wake in the morning well before the rest of the house. They stay in their rooms and play quietly. My oldest knows he is not allowed downstairs and with the gate closed, the middle child can't go there even if she wanted.

I would not feel comfortable with having them roamin the house (even though it is childproof) because nothing is every 100% safe and should they forget they can't go outside and go outside.. well..
shayinme's Avatar shayinme 11:36 AM 08-22-2008
Like others have stated there are many variables, ranging from the child's age to temperament, as well as the set up of the house. That said, I used to be a single Mama and there were times when I was bone tired and ds was 3-4 (he is now 16) when I would be on the couch taking a light nap but he would be right in my vicinity. I would have snacks on the cocktail table and pretty much if he moved out of the area I would immediately wake up. Maybe not ideal but at that time in life I worked 40 hours a week, plus went to school and sometimes I was bone tired.
milkybean's Avatar milkybean 06:51 PM 08-22-2008
It's such an odd question, b/c that's what happens when families go to sleep.

My husband climbed out of his crib and hid, at 9 months. His mom came in to the room the next morning and freaked out until she heard him. One doesn't think of sleeptime as being unsupervised, but it is, and of course families have to sleep.

I had a friend who was caring for a child that wasn't hers, and he had behavioural problems. He would wander the house and beat up on the other kids. They finally got fed up with it and put a lock on the outside of his door. He told someone, and they were severely warned that locks on the outside of doors weren't allowed. So they just had to let this boy beat up their children and wander their home, b/c they couldn't have someone awake 24/7. There was no winning.

My son sometimes wakes up before I'm awake, and he brings toys into the bed, he looks at books, he talks to me, shoves action figures under me, and so on. It's hilarious, seeing what all he does while I'm dozing. One day he was feeling a little spooked by something, and put a ring of "weapons" around me...Lego "blasters", his light saber, a stick, and so on. I was boobytrapped in case someone tried to get me, I guess.

My brother and I used to get up earlier than my hard working single mom, and she had a whole thing set out for us. Little Tupperware pitchers of milk (so we didn't have to deal with the gallon container), cereal in Tupperware, bowls set out, and so on. We knew the rules, we followed the rules. Of course it was a teensy house and I'm sure she could hear us even while snoozing, but she was getting extra rest.

But I'm sure there are bad situations, too.

I can't vote b/c there are too many variables.
StephandOwen's Avatar StephandOwen 04:14 PM 08-23-2008
It depends. My child? Nope, not safe. But ds has autism so he's not typical. I have gone into that light dozing off state but it doesn't last long because he's bouncing around on top of me I have alarms on all our doors so if/when he tries to escape I know instantly. Most everything is "Owen proof" in our house.
pookel's Avatar pookel 04:45 PM 08-23-2008
My 3yo, in my house, absolutely. I trust him to fend for himself for a while and come get me when he needs something, and he's been fine for up to an hour or two on his own for at least a year (since his baby brother was born). There's nothing that he can access that could be dangerous to him, and he doesn't get into trouble when I'm not around, as a general rule.

With the 1yo, I might doze in a sealed, babyproofed room with him, but I wouldn't sleep while he just wanders.
Patchfire's Avatar Patchfire 04:53 PM 08-23-2008
My eight year old? Absolutely. She wakes up before the rest of the house about 50% of the time as it is, and is fully capable of taking care of her needs while we're asleep, as well as showing appropriate judgment about when to wake us up, no matter the time.

My three year old? By himself, no! With his sister, either in his room or watching a video? Yes, because of the aforementioned judgment that she generally shows.
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 04:55 PM 08-23-2008
Under eight is a huge range. I'm okay sleeping while dd is awake. I wouldn't have been when she was, say, one.
Mama Poot's Avatar Mama Poot 04:59 PM 08-23-2008
Originally Posted by onyxravnos View Post
I agree with most of the others. If the child(ren) are normal over 5ers sure no problem.
Under 5? absolutely no way not ever.
Not ever? Wow, you must be so lucky to always have someone there to watch them while you shower or use the bathroom! What about single parents? What do they do?

I can remember going downstairs on Saturday mornings to watch tv as young as 5 while my mom slept. I never got into trouble, I just watched my shows until she came downstairs. And even though I can't remember it, I know it went on well before that because my mom was a single mom by the time I was 15 months old (and I'm still alive tee hee!) My DH works long hours many days, especially during fall and winter, and there are many times I have to shower while the kids are up. I usually let them watch a video or put up the gate and let them play in their room until I'm done. They're way too young to be alone while I sleep, though. (Paddy is 3 and Henri is 2)
Breeder's Avatar Breeder 05:10 PM 08-23-2008
DS1 has been waking up at around 6am. He is a sensible guy in a childproofed house. He plays in his room until 7am when we wake up. He is also six years old.

Before he was around 4 and a half one of us just sucked it up and got up with him every morning at six. But there is a BIG difference between 0 and 8 years old.
Justmee's Avatar Justmee 05:16 PM 08-23-2008
Yeah just another it depends. I"ve dozed in the am while the girls were up, but we live in a pretty small childproofed apartment and I am only half asleep. Deep sleep in a big house they could get out or get into things or I couldn't hear them... no way.
Collinsky's Avatar Collinsky 05:33 PM 08-23-2008
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post
Depends on the kid, the home, and the type of sleep. There's a difference between dead to the world from exhaustion, and catching a quick nap, or between passed out drunk and dozing a few more minutes before getting out of bed.
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
Under the age of 4, they would need to be in the same room with me. After that yep, no problem. By 4 years old my kids could both get a snack on their own, come and get me if someone knocks on the door etc. They both played independantly in their rooms for most of the day at that age. They only wanted me for meals and a run-by hug here and there.
: to both of these. My daughters can watch TV or play while I sleep, if I need a nap. They are very safe, and always in the same room with me, and I don't sleep deeply. My eldest, now 5.5, has been able to be awake while I'm asleep since she was 4.

Napping while my 2 yo is awake would be something I wouldn't want to deal with - and honestly I don't know if it will be something that I will be able to do when he's my Dds' ages, either. Temperament comes into play, there. (And I hope it goes without saying that I don't doze off at all if my baby is awake.)
bigeyes's Avatar bigeyes 06:05 PM 08-23-2008
It depends on their ages and their behavior, whether you're childproofed, have pets, so many variables.

I know 2 people who have had their houses set on fire by toddlers.


Then there's that awful case in Oklahoma where the people were asleep and the dog killed the baby, and now public opinion crucifies the people who were asleep....who may very well have not even known the baby was not with one of the other adults.

I can't sleep if my kids are up, they wake me up by trying to be quiet.

I don't know how to answer this question for everyone, but I'm so paranoid I don't think I would sleep with children under 8 awake. I'm always thinking of the worst case scenario, I guess.
Pumpkin_Pie's Avatar Pumpkin_Pie 10:01 PM 08-23-2008
I have definitely taken a cat nap on the couch with my son (17 months) playing on the floor in the living room with me. The room is gated off, and totally child proofed, and he has a ton of toys in there, so it works. I usually also nap topless, so he can do a fly by nursing. I never sleep more than 10 minutes at a time, as I am constantly waking up a bit when I hear him making noise, but it is nice to get some rest, and I feel confident that he is safe.
PatchChild's Avatar PatchChild 10:23 PM 08-23-2008
I dozed, catnapped with my babe with me. He briefly took to being awake between 2-3 in the morning. Like it or not, I dozed. My being so sleepy would help lull him back to sleep as well.
kijip's Avatar kijip 04:36 PM 08-24-2008
Well, hopefully for the sake of the parents and kids, the parent is sleeping some appreciable amount of hours per day/night. . Given that a child who is sleeping can wake up at anytime, I can't imagine thinking it is NEVER acceptable. It certainly depends on the child, the age, the location and the type of sleep. I certainly have napped while my son played or watched a video nearby. He is 5, I know he would wake me if needed and I know I would wake up immediately if I heard something I should not, like a thud or a door opening.
amys3kids's Avatar amys3kids 06:17 PM 08-24-2008
No......its not safe.Even when it is child proof they find things to get into.Just imagine explaining the situation to poison control,when they ask "how long was the child left unsupervised?" I know from experience it only takes five minutes for them to get into something awful. I forgot to metion this really mostly applies to when they are up and around like 1-6 years of age and of course there are a ton of variables involved. son is into everything!
Llyra's Avatar Llyra 11:14 PM 08-24-2008
I go to sleep at night, so my LOs are clearly unsupervised then. But the toddlers are either contained in safe cribs, or asleep right beside me, and that's different from leaving them loose in the kitchen, ya know? So it depends. It depends on the age of the child-- I'd take a nap with my 4 year old awake, but I wouldn't do it with the toddlers unless they were contained or right there next to me.

It really depends. But by 8 years old, I'd think it should be fine, if your child is reasonably sensible.
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 03:29 AM 08-25-2008
Depends on the child, the parent, the age of the child, where the parent is in relation to proximity of the child, etc.

My two five year olds and four year old can be in the living room (and stay there!) playing together, coloring, reading, etc. while I nap on the couch. I call it a "nanny nap" as I am not fully asleep. If I hear one walk out of the room, I wake to ask what they are doing. So I am not completely out but I am out enough to get some rest in. I only do this when pregnant and in first tri.. soooo tired.
dimibella's Avatar dimibella 03:36 AM 08-25-2008
I voted depends. My 6yo DS, definitely, he is super sweet and very responsible. So if DD and I were to take a nap together I would feel okay with him alone, but I couldn't just take a nap by myself as DD is a major dare devil and gets herself into all sorts of trouble without meaning to at all and it wouldn't be fair to ask DS to be responsible for that.
ledzepplon's Avatar ledzepplon 03:42 AM 08-25-2008
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post
Depends on the kid, the home, and the type of sleep. There's a difference between dead to the world from exhaustion, and catching a quick nap, or between passed out drunk and dozing a few more minutes before getting out of bed.

We've told dd, who is 4, that if she wakes up in the morning before us, she can play quietly in her room or read books, but we'd prefer she not wake us up unless she really needs to. (She's a very early riser, and dh, ds, and I cosleep, so when she comes in it really wakes everyone in the house.)

I know this wouldn't work for every kid her age, but she is pretty well-behaved, and our house is very kid-friendly.
mama2cal&darby's Avatar mama2cal&darby 11:32 PM 08-25-2008
Forget about the safety issue- I'm just stunned that others have children who LET them nap. My DS1 is almost 4 and I can barely leave the room he is in to go to the washroom! Your kids play quietly and independendly while you nap for 1-2 hours?!? I am speechless...and envious!
bigeyes's Avatar bigeyes 12:04 AM 08-26-2008
Originally Posted by mama2cal&darby View Post
Forget about the safety issue- I'm just stunned that others have children who LET them nap. My DS1 is almost 4 and I can barely leave the room he is in to go to the washroom! Your kids play quietly and independendly while you nap for 1-2 hours?!? I am speechless...and envious!
If it makes you feel any better, my kid has never ever had a nap. He's 11 now, and it used to frost my @$$ when people would tell me to sleep when he slept. His bio dad never needed more than 6 hours of sleep a night and I need 8. Guess who he takes after? :

I feel your pain.
DoomaYula's Avatar DoomaYula 09:53 AM 08-27-2008
I have twin 5yo boys, and I'd trust them individually to be okay while I napped but NOT together

My 3yo usually follows them around or tattles on them or something...

Putting my kids in front of a video and trying to take a 30min power nap (which I'm going to do today) is usually totally futile.

However, to answer the OP: I guess it could be safe, depending on the age and the number of kids and a host of other things. If you'd said ages 5-8 I'd probably say YES it's fine.
MayBaby2007's Avatar MayBaby2007 10:12 AM 08-27-2008
It depends on the age, the child, and how child-friendly the house is.

My dd is almost 15 months and I've slept while she was up playing since crawling age (6 mos). I went back to work when she was 5 months, I'm a single mama and I work midnights--I'm nearing the end of 16 hours now (3pm-11pm and 11pm-7am).

When I pick her up this morning I'll play with her and try to get her sleepy. But if I can't hold my head up any longer, I'll put her in the bedroom with me and I'll drift off to sleep while she plays. Eventually she'll lay down with me and take a nap. There are honestly zero "no's" in my house. My house is very toddler friendly and safe.

I often sleep through her whining. But if she cries an "I need you right now or something is wrong" I wake immidiately. My sleeping brain can diferentiate between her cries. I can usually get an hour or two at the most before dd makes me get out of bed. Flame all you want but it works for us and I have to sleep. Mama exhausted :yawning:
fiveyearsapart's Avatar fiveyearsapart 11:57 AM 08-27-2008
My 7 year old: yes
My 2 year old: heck no!
For us it would be okay at around age 5.
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