Dr. Basora-Rovira cautions parents that bed-sharing should be avoided for children under the age of 12 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) amended its sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) guidelines in 2016 to promote room-sharing during the baby's first year but to avoid bed-sharing owing to the danger of unintentional asphyxia.
The risk of SIDS remains high until at least age one, even if the baby has been sleeping alone before then. However young, some babies may not be able to stay awake without feeding for an entire night this way. Those who can't will need to be fed regularly throughout the night so they don't suffer from sleep deprivation.
As well, there are other dangers associated with bed-sharing. If your child falls into the bed while you're both lying down, they could get trapped between the mattress and the wall or become entangled in sheets. This can lead to injury. Young children who struggle with insomnia may have multiple episodes of awakening during the night, which could lead to overheating.
Parents should discuss concerns about bed-sharing with their doctors, especially if their child is older than six months but still sleeps with them nightly. Some physicians recommend moving the younger child into a separate room within the house to prevent any possible problems caused by bed-sharing.
To lessen the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome, the AAP recommends that newborns share a parent's room but not a bed "preferably for a year, but at least for six months" (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatrics goes further, saying that babies should be put to sleep alone, but this is not recommended until they are at least one year old.
After one year, sleeping in the same room as the parents is not thought to pose any risk to children's health. However, if a parent wants to reduce the chances of their child having a habitually late waking, it's best not to have them sleep in the same room as they need to wake up to breastfeed or give a medication. It's also important that young children don't suffer from insomnia due to separation anxiety; if this happens, they may feel the need to keep themselves awake so they don't forget about them when their parents go to work or school.
Children under five years old should not be left alone in the bedroom. If your child wakes up in the night and needs you, they should be able to find you. Children under three years old shouldn't be left alone in the bed without a guard rail around the edge. If your child can walk, they should have something like a staircased chair or bookcase to prevent them from falling out of their bed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes co-sleeping with children under the age of one. However, the AAP recommends room sharing during the first 6 months of a child's life since this safe practice can dramatically minimize the incidence of SIDS. After six months, your child should sleep in his or her own bed.
Parents should not feel guilty about stopping co-sleeping before their babies are one year old. In fact, most infants will not be harmed by this practice as long as they are also receiving adequate sleep at night time.
Children who are older than one but still sleep with their parents need to have some type of safety mechanism in place. For example, you could install a lock on a door leading to the baby's room to prevent him or her from getting out.
Parents should also learn how to correctly use a crib bumper guard. These devices reduce the risk of infant death due to suffocation. They are easy to use and many manufacturers offer different sizes for vehicles and appliances.
Finally, never share your bed with your child unless it is with the intention of protecting him or her from harm. If you are not able to stop sleeping with your child when he or she becomes old enough, then consider getting into a shared bedded room.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns should sleep in their parents' room—but not in the same bed—for at least the first six months of life, preferably for the entire year, to lower the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50%.
Newborns need to sleep with someone to ensure that they get enough quality sleep and that they are safe from harm's way. The person sleeping next to the baby needs to be able to respond quickly in case of an emergency.
Although having the baby in the parents' room is recommended, this isn't possible for all families. If this is the case for you and your partner or parent who will be staying in another room, make sure there is communication between rooms during sleep times so that if something were to happen, someone would know immediately.
Most babies will start sleeping through the night around 4-6 weeks old. By 10-12 weeks most babies are sleeping about 15 hours a week and by four months most are sleeping 22 hours or more per day.
Until your baby is older and able to decide for herself, it's important to let her sleep in the parents' room until she is eight weeks old. This is also known as "co-sleeping".