• Don’t bed-share. Bed-sharing means you and your baby sleep together in the same bed.

  • Bed-sharing may put your baby at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS) and other dangers during sleep, like suffocation.  

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in her own bassinet or crib placed close to your bed.

What are co-sleeping, bed-sharing and room-sharing?

Co-sleeping is when you sleep close enough to your baby that you can see, hear, touch or smell each other. One kind of co-sleeping is bed-sharing. Bed-sharing is when you sleep with your baby together in the same bed. Some studies show that bed-sharing is the most common cause of death in babies, especially babies younger than 3 months old.

Room-sharing is another kind of co-sleeping. It’s when your baby sleeps in her own bassinet or crib placed close to your bed in the same room. The American Academy of Pediatrics (also called AAP) recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing for the first year of your baby’s life or at least for the first 6 months.  

Room-sharing may lower your baby’s risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death. SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Bed-sharing may put your baby at risk for SIDS and other dangers, like suffocation (not being able to breathe). 

Where is the safest place for your baby to sleep?

The best place for your baby to sleep is in her bassinet or crib placed close to your bed. If you have multiples (twins, triplets or more), put each baby in his own bassinet or crib. 

With your baby close by, you can easily feed him and check on him during the night. You can bring your baby into your bed for breastfeeding or if he needs to be soothed. But put him back in his own bed before you fall asleep.

Use these other tips to help keep your baby safe during sleep.

Why is bed-sharing dangerous?

During bed-sharing, a baby can be hurt by: 

  • Getting trapped by the bed’s frame, headboard or footboard 
  • Getting stuck between the bed and the wall, furniture or other objects 
  • Falling off the bed 
  • Being suffocated by pillows, blankets or quilts or from laying facedown 
  • Having another person roll on top of him 
  • SIDS

About half of all SIDS deaths happen when a baby shares a bed, sofa or sofa chair with another person. To help keep your baby safe from SIDS, don’t bed-share if: 

  • Your baby is younger than 4 months old.  This is when a baby is at highest risk of SIDS.
  • Your partner or other children sleep in your bed.      
  • You smoke, even if you don’t smoke in bed. 
  • You’re very tired. 
  • You’ve had alcohol, used street drugs or taken certain prescription medicines, like antidepressants, or over-the-counter (also called OTC) medicines, like allergy or cough medicine that may make you sleepy. Taking these things can make it hard for you to wake up or respond to your baby. 

What other problems can bed-sharing cause?

Some parents don’t sleep well with a baby in their bed. And babies who bed-share may have trouble falling asleep by themselves. This can be a problem at nap time or at night when parents aren’t yet in bed.

Are co-sleepers safe?

Co-sleepers are baby beds or bassinets that attach to your bed. To improve their safety, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (also called CPSC) created the first set of safety standards for co-sleepers. Companies that make co-sleepers must follow the safety standards starting July 2014. AAP doesn’t recommend using these products.

Last reviewed: October, 2016