Children unsupervised while parents sleep: Is it safe? - Mothering Forums

Children unsupervised while parents sleep: Is it safe?

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
BinahYeteirah's Avatar BinahYeteirah (TS)
06:54 AM Liked: 11
#1 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 3,094
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I'm having a little disagreement with someone I know, so I thought I would ask what you think. Is it safe for children to be left unsupervised while a parent is asleep in the house? For the purpose of this poll, please answer for children under age 8.
BinahYeteirah's Avatar BinahYeteirah (TS)
06:58 AM Liked: 11
#2 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 3,094
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If you know any articles or legislation on this topic, please post links. TIA!
BinahYeteirah's Avatar BinahYeteirah (TS)
07:07 AM Liked: 11
#3 of 58
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Vote people.
LoveOhm's Avatar LoveOhm
07:27 AM Liked: 16
#4 of 58
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I think it depends on the situation. I have my entire home professionally childproofed and really made an effort for my home to not just be childproofed but child friendly.... a "no fault" zone where a toddler can freely explore.

While I am OK with my dd exploring, if I were sleep I would want her to explore in the same room with me!
Katielady's Avatar Katielady
08:38 AM Liked: 116
#5 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 2,016
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Depends on the house, depends on the kids. 0-8 is a big age range.

Once my DS is bigger, maybe 3, he could probably get up and play on his own while DH and I were still sleeping. We have the house child-proofed, and it's an apartment, so we're within hearing range of wherever he might be.
rachelsmama's Avatar rachelsmama
08:54 AM Liked: 31376
#6 of 58
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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.
Papooses's Avatar Papooses
10:42 AM Liked: 5
#7 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 649
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Originally Posted by LoveOhm View Post
I think it depends on the situation. I have my entire home professionally childproofed and really made an effort for my home to not just be childproofed but child friendly.... a "no fault" zone where a toddler can freely explore.

While I am OK with my dd exploring, if I were sleep I would want her to explore in the same room with me!
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.
ITA with both. I have a chronic illness. There have been many times when I have been physically/medically incapable of leaving my bed, stuck in an illness induced sleep state for an entire day. I kept a mini fridge next to my bed with snackable finger foods for kiddo, bolted the furniture to the walls, covered outlets, installed a kid proof lock on the bedroom door, etc. for my DD to play on & around my bed. I also made a point of calling my neighbors when this happened so that they could come check on us in their free time JIC.

My daughter is 6 now & we continue in this way today. This past week I was in the ER for pneumonia with fractured rib. She brought my meals to me & sat with me off & on between playing in her own room. I keep a store of organic frozen dinners for her to heat up easily/safely for times like this.

It might not be the perfect ideal, but we each only do our best.

If parents of multiples (with or without other siblings) never let themselves rest while their kids were awake if that happens to be when they need rest most, it could be even more dangerous in the long run. Exhaustion is not your friend when you're driving, for example.

There's a difference between setting the environment up to reduce the risks vs. neglecting one's child.
Amila's Avatar Amila
10:48 AM Liked: 14
#8 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 2,668
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I voted NO, but there have been times (when I was preggo) where she was watching cartoons, and I half-napped on the couch right in the same room. If I even so much as slightly feel like I am going to fall asleep I make sure the doors are locked, the basement, the upstairs are unaccessible, etc. And I fall into one of those sleeps where I am still aware whats going on. So in actuality I don't really"sleep"
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee
10:54 AM Liked: 15
#9 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 19,261
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Though I have laid down with the little two while older two watched a movie in the same room. Older two are 6 and 8.

When I say "nap" it is more like day dreaming. I can hear everything going on.
4evermom's Avatar 4evermom
10:56 AM Liked: 601
#10 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 8,752
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0-8 is a big range.

Like the others said, it depends on the child and the environment. My home has never been child proofed but my child is sensible, cautious, and 6. He doesn't generally let me sleep while he is awake because he prefers company. But lately I've been trying to take naps when his favorite tv show is on in the afternoon. I used to nap when he does but he stopped napping. I have low level chronic fatigue and I need my naps some days. He usually comes in and talks to me every commercial but sometimes I get a good doze in. I don't sleep soundly so I am hardly unavailable.

I would be concerned about an unaccessible sound sleeper who worked nights and slept all day, leaving a child to his own devices for hours. And I would be concerned about certain children who are less cautious and more exploratory than mine, especially in the 0-4ish age range.
chickabiddy's Avatar chickabiddy
11:02 AM Liked: 7421
#11 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 3,435
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Another "it depends". No, I would not have let my toddler wander around the house while I was in my room with my door closed and deeply asleep. My six-year-old in bed next to me, watching a (gasp!) DVD on the portable player while I doze on and off? Yep.

ETA: And not on a regular basis -- just if I'm sick or something like that.
wombat's Avatar wombat
11:11 AM Liked: 5
#12 of 58
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I think it's as safe as when children are 'unsupervised' at nighttime when their parents are asleep. No one seriously expects parents to stay awake 24/7.

I remember a recent story where a young child woke early, climbed into a toybox and suffocated before his parents got up. It doesn't matter if it is the parents sleeping during the day or night.

It's commonsense. You don't nap on the sofa with your house unchildproofed and your front door unlocked. Same thing at night. There are simple precautions you take when you sleep whether it's daytime or nighttime.
ann_of_loxley's Avatar ann_of_loxley
11:11 AM Liked: 17
#13 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 5,388
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Depends on the child and house and how long one is sleeping for! (hehe).

I have fallen asleep on the sofa before. It has never been anything more than an hour. I have certainly not made a habit of it but sometimes it happens. However, I know my son (and my house) and since I could happily leave him unsupervised in a room whilst I go into another room, I am pretty alright with me having a bit of a kip on the sofa whilst he plays near me (becaues thats usually how it happens - I dont feel well, I fall asleep for a half hour to an hour and he just usually plays quietly near me during that time). I also am not sleeping deeply during this time - the smallest little whimper from him and I am there for his need! But thats him, and this house, and us. I dont, for example, feel comfortable doing that at Grandmas house - so I dont! lol
mamazee's Avatar mamazee
11:44 AM Liked: 6460
#14 of 58
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My 6-year-old almost always wakes up first and is up by herself. I don't see how that's a problem. If she were 2, then it would be bad. If it were all day or something, that would be a problem too. But there's no comparison between what's safe for a 2-year-old and an 8-year-old anyway.
mammal_mama's Avatar mammal_mama
11:49 AM Liked: 917
#15 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 6,378
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I voted "depends" because, as others have said, 0-8 is such a huge range.

I think it would be a depressing situation, even for an older child, if the parent were practically always sleeping (as in, deeply depressed or something) and the child never got any companionship.

But whether it's safe will depend on the maturity-level of the child, how deeply the parent sleeps, and how available the parent is willing to be.

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, my older daughter was 4, and I felt okay letting her play on her own while I "napped" for 1-2 hours. I didn't really sleep -- just lay in the bed and mentally spaced out for a while. She often brought her toys and played next to me in the bed.
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers
11:53 AM Liked: 14
#16 of 58
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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.
thepeach80's Avatar thepeach80
01:37 PM Liked: 10
#17 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 6,159
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I put depends. I will sometimes lay down w/ Ilana in my room (we have an apt that's just one floor) while the boys stay up or usually Evan naps too so it's just AJ up. He watches tv or plays on the computer and they come get me w/ anything they need. Yes, there's more of a mess when I get up and they often eat more snacks than normal, lol, but they're safe and I get some much needed rest.
eclipse's Avatar eclipse
02:09 PM Liked: 211
#18 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 7,440
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It really depends. My kids are almost 3, 5, and 7 1/2. My older two regularly get up before me and have for years. My oldest is the type that needs very little sleep, so he's often up by 5AM. He's been getting up by himself since he was around 18 months old. Thinking about it, it sounds awful, but he was really very self sufficient. I would go to work before he got up, dh would wake up when he did (after only a few hours of sleep himself as he worked a late shift) and get him breakfast, change his diaper, etc and then dose while he played. I think DD wasn't much older. The two the older ones would entertain each other for an hour or so while I dosed, especially after I got pregnant with DS2. Our place was child proofed and they didn't do too many crazy things. DS2 though - he's almost three and I don't feel comfortable letting him get up before me, even with the older two around. He's one fo those kids who is into everything and defeated every childproofing device within a few minutes of encountering it. He also doesn't talk well and sometimes it's hard to know how much he understands - I'm not confident that he would come get me if he needed me. I think it's also important to note that we live in an apartment - even asleep, I can hear what's going on in the rest of the apartment, without a monitor or anything. If I was in a big house with two stories or something, I don't think I'd feel as okay with it.
eclipse's Avatar eclipse
02:10 PM Liked: 211
#19 of 58
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I wanted to add that when I have a newish baby, the older ones have to fend for themselves during baby naps, as I often had no control over whether I fell asleep with them or not.
KeanusMomma's Avatar KeanusMomma
02:22 PM Liked: 11
#20 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 281
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Ds just turned 4, and for the past few months I have been working evenings, so he goes to bed way before I do, and naturally wakes up before me as well. He is really good about getting some yogurt out of the fridge all by himself, even throwing away the trash and putting the spoon in the sink. He usually comes back in the bedroom and asks me to open the candy he got from Oma last night, or wants me for whatever reason. This past week he has been getting up and doing whatever, but quickly coming back to me to nurse and just lay and cuddle with me.

I voted "it depends" because for a baby, I don't think that'd be right. Wombat mentioned it being the same as at night, and to a certain extent that's true, but not quite. At night, most of us MDC-ers cosleep. We are supervising our children and can generally tell when one wakes up. If not, babies are almost always in some sort of contraption that ensures safety, like a crib. In addition, many small children are active when awake, and (hopefully) asleep at night (aside from those that haven't gotten the hang of the night=sleep thing yet). What I'm trying to say is that if a child wakes up before mom, and just looks at the mobile and coos, it's fine. If the child is already crawling or walking around the house, and mom goes back to bed, I'd say no, unless the child has already demonsrated proficiency with independence.

It depends on not only the age, but the child--some are more high needs or immature than others.
A&A's Avatar A&A
02:25 PM Liked: 1858
#21 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 16,186
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Originally Posted by Katielady View Post
Depends on the house, depends on the kids. 0-8 is a big age range.

The 5--8 range is a lot different than the under-5 range.
MommyJoia's Avatar MommyJoia
02:32 PM Liked: 10
#22 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 403
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DD#1 (4) yes, she spent a lot of time playing while I slept with DD#2. She will wake me if she needs anything and will not "get into trouble"

DD#2 (1) absolutely not. She climbs, she gets into everything, I can't leave her in any room unsupervised, not even for a second. she is my little chimpanzee. If it can be reached, by stacking something to get to it, she can get it. She can open things my 4 y/o can't, she has no sense of danger.
hottmama's Avatar hottmama
02:36 PM Liked: 11
#23 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 5,203
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Depends on the child's age and temperament. MY kids would be safe unsupervised while I slept-- they'd make a hell of a mess, though.
KarmaJoy's Avatar KarmaJoy
02:48 PM Liked: 0
#24 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 429
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My oldest is just turning 3 so I would say definitely not at this age. She still does crazy and dangerous stuff with innocent items like dining room chairs and books.

There have been times when after being severely sleep deprived for weeks I locked myself in the kids room with them and let them play while I laid down but there was no way they could get out and we were all in one very child safe room together. Even this I only did in an extreme case.

If a kid were 7...I don't know. I haven't had a seven year old but it seems like maybe you could at 7, depending on the child.
Ironica's Avatar Ironica
02:48 PM Liked: 12
#25 of 58
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I voted "Depends" too. It depends a lot on the child, and even what mood they're in. Our 4-year-old occasionally wakes at 5:30 and can't go back to sleep; DH gets up, gets him a bowl of cereal, puts in a DVD for him, and comes back to bed for an hour or so. That makes me a *little* uncomfy because we're at opposite ends of the house, but I can't conceive of the realistic scenario where he would come to harm while we snoozed away. I can come up with all kinds of wild implausible ones, of course. ;-)

When he was around 2 years old, some days, if I was very short on sleep, I'd doze on the couch while he watched his PBS shows sitting in front of me. I'm not a deep sleeper when on semi-alert like that, so I'd wake at sounds and transitions minimally.

But a kid who was an implacable climber on things they knew weren't safe? Or who was curious about sharp things or electrical connections? Uh, not so much. ;-)
phathui5's Avatar phathui5
08:00 PM Liked: 5886
#26 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 17,019
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I'd say yes. It's not ideal, but as another poster said, parents can't be expected to be awake 24/7.
littlemizflava's Avatar littlemizflava
08:11 PM Liked: 11
#27 of 58
08-16-2008 | Posts: 1,393
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i live in a apartment so i can hear everything my dd does. when she wakes up first she will go play, eat, watch a movie. she has been doing this since about 2 she knew safety stuff (no stove, no mic, no toster) since 4 she has been able to use the mic and toster. i am also ok with my ds who is 21 months to be up when i am sleeping. he stays close by me goes gets a toy and sits on the bed or on the floor but most times he wakes my dd up.
treqi's Avatar treqi
01:38 AM Liked: 13
#28 of 58
08-17-2008 | Posts: 1,361
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depends on what type of sleep if its a natural sleep that is not disorder or drug induced totally ok so long as the area is properly child proofed
NightShiftMom's Avatar NightShiftMom
01:52 AM Liked: 0
#29 of 58
08-17-2008 | Posts: 8
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Totaly depends, I work nights from home, my kids go to daycare so that I can safely sleep days...I've kept my oldest home sick and napped on the couch with her baby gated into the same room she is 3.5 and is a quiet calm kid who would rather read or color than anything else. I could and would never do that with her brother, he is a climber and explorer. I would never feel safe with him.
Herausgeber's Avatar Herausgeber
09:42 PM Liked: 0
#30 of 58
08-21-2008 | Posts: 1,610
Joined: Apr 2006
Over 5, yes. Under 5, probably not.

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